People in the UK are expected to travel less by air as well as railway, according to a country-wide survey.

According to professional services company GHD, out of 1,000 respondents, a third expect to travel less by air compared with before the Covid-19 pandemic, 29% will travel the same amount and only 9% said they will travel more.

For rail travel, the situation is similar to aviation, with 31% of respondents saying they will travel less. Compared with aviation, slightly more people, 33%, said they will use the railway the same way but only 8% will travel by rail more. This is down to people expect to maintain a similar amount of work flexibility moving forward, the researchers say.

“The transformation in our relationship with physical travel could be one of the most visible legacies of the pandemic, as our established working and travelling habits have undergone a seismic shift,” commented GHD transport market leader Jonathan Edwards.

“Public transport is seeing significantly reduced passenger and revenue levels and we know operators are feeling the squeeze from this, set against their overheads and long-term financial costs, forcing them to focus predominantly on business continuity.”

What also emerged from the survey is that transport data is fundamental to help the country meet its environmental goals and strive towards net-zero. “There is no easy solution to decarbonisation, but the current focus should be on capturing asset information, monitoring movement patterns and reinventing services and supply chains to keep emissions as low as possible, with technology that is currently available,” added Edwards.

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“Data intelligence and behavioural modelling will play a fundamental role in understanding and predicting consumer behaviour and asset performance, as more permanent patterns emerge, and the long-term impacts of Covid-19 become clearer.”

The GHD UK survey is part of a bigger survey conducted among 8,000 people from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore to see how patterns will change post-pandemic.