Asia-Pacific Transport Forum 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on transport and human mobility. Almost overnight, both the systems of transport and our assumptions of modern mobility – of its availability, and accessibility – vanished. Cities, states and countries went into quarantine lockdowns to slow the transmission of the virus. Trains ceased to run, planes ceased to fly, and the streets were emptied of all users.
Months later, much of the world is exiting the most stringent lockdowns and entering into a “new normal” of face masks, social distancing, and new transport challenges. The pandemic’s effects have hammered the transport sector and the economy built around it. Public transport in many areas has been severely limited, making urban mobility all the more difficult. Commercial air travel is operating only a fraction of its routes, and in the absence of travelers, the tourism sector is facing an uncertain future. Governments worked hard to ensure that logistics and freight were protected to ensure the flow of essential goods, but even these sectors see difficult times ahead.
But conversely, the lockdowns also created new opportunities – streets were reclaimed by pedestrians and nonmotorized transport users. Urban dwellers experienced unprecedented clean air and clear skies in the absence of motor vehicle pollution. Very briefly, a new way of living in the city emerged.
Given these issues, ADB is going online to discuss the new future of the transport sector.
From 24 to 28 August 2020, ADB will be hosting a series of webinars which will bring together the expert community to discuss how they expect mobility under new normal conditions.
2020 was originally scheduled to be a year for ADB’s Transport Forum – our premiere gathering of experts, government counterparts, and stakeholders who meet at ADB headquarters in Manila to discuss the region's transport issues, the applied and potential solutions to these issues, and the future of the sector. While the pandemic has made a physical meeting untenable, it has not lessened the desire or ability of the transport expert community to meet and discuss.
This will serve as the region’s first major event to discuss transport’s future in a world changed by COVID-19.