Professional Planners Anticipate Post-Pandemic Active Commuting

Many planners say they want to try out active commutes when in-office work becomes possible. How will a fresh look at their local streets influence planning professionals and planning practice?

Read Time: 2 minutes

August 27, 2020, 11:00 AM PDT

By Lee Flannery @leecflannery


Walking

kaybee07 / Flickr

A survey of 1,000 planning professionals conducted by Kittelson & Associates asked whether remote work has changed preferences about commuting to work. A surprising number of workers in government and the built environment professions want to try an active commute once they return to the office post-pandemic the survey findsa change in habits that might reduce the widespread windshield bias that has subtly shaped city decision making for generations.

"Like several broader studies have found, many respondents remain shy of returning to public transportation, but 23 percent of workers who previously took transit every day indicated that they plan to try a bike, walk, or other active commute once they can return to the workplace — compared to about 18 percent that will commute solo by car," writes Kea Wilson. 

Equally important, 44 percent of survey respondents said they would opt for biking or walking over mass transit commutes in the future. Only .5 percent of Americans in the transportation industry chose active commuting in 2014, according to an American Community Survey survey.

"One thing’s for sure: if all these powerful people actually make good on their intentions to try walking, biking, or wheeling to work, they may get a glimpse of their communities they’ve never seen before. And if they don’t like what they see, maybe they’ll start thinking about how to make our roads better for the rest of us," opines Wilson.

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