Impacts of interpersonal distancing on-board trains during the COVID-19 emergency

INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 emergency and the cities lockdown have had a strong impact on transport and mobility. In particular, travel demand has registered an unprecedented overall contraction, dramatically dropping down with peaks of - 90%-95% passengers for public transport (PT). During the re-opening phase, demand is gradually resuming the levels before the crisis, although some structural changes are observed in travel behaviour, and containment measures to reduce the risk of contagion are still being applied, affecting transport supply. OBJECTIVE: This paper aims at assessing to what extent keeping a one-meter interpersonal distancing on-board trains is sustainable for public transport companies. METHOD: The analysis is based on travel demand forecasting models applied to two case-studies in Italy: a suburban railway line and a High-speed Rail (HSR) line, differentiated by demand characteristics (e.g. urban vs. ex-urban) and train access system (free access vs. reservation required). RESULTS: In the suburban case, the results show the need of new urban policies, not only limited to the transport domain, in order to manage the demand peaks at the stations and on-board vehicles. In the ex-urban case, the outputs suggest the need for public subsidies in order for the railways undertakings to cope with revenue losses and, at the same time, to maintain service quality levels.


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  • Accession Number: 01767941
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 10 2021 4:15PM