The Effects of COVID19 on Transport Infrastructure and Maintenance
As we round the corner and life starts to get back to normal, it’s important to stop and take a look at how COVID19 has changed things.
The year 2020 has seen an enormous amount of changes. From numerous plans being dashed to other unforeseen alterations due to social distancing, remote work, and safety, 2020 did not go as planned for just about anyone. The initial reaction of the US to COVID 19 was not particularly serious, with people mostly ignoring it until cases started to spike. Afterwards, local governments acted with lockdowns and businesses started implementing rules of all kinds. New rules and regulations saw everything from hiking trails in LA being shut down to only small amounts of people being allowed to congregate in places of business. Schools are still remote in many places, and restaurants do take out only…if they survived the initial pandemic panic. Needless to say, our businesses and the way they are constructed will show some marked differences from pre-pandemic life for a while.
What are these differences exactly? Which ones will stick around for a while as life gets back to normal? How will this affect you and/or your business? In broad strokes, we can expect the following:
- Businesses constructed for less contact. More online activity, better spacing and separation of individuals for in-person activities.
- Resiliency in business construction. Things will be built so that another pandemic, or a resurgence/mutation of COVID19 doesn’t disrupt things the way it did in the first part of 2020.
Of the 16 critical infrastructure sectors in the US, we will focus on transportation.
Wide open roads
With a huge drop in commuters thanks to remote work, 2020-2021 has seen the roads get a lot less busy. Essential workers, servers, construction workers, and others found that they often had the roads (almost) to themselves as they made their way to and from work. This has resulted in some new innovation.
Driverless cars and cars with high-functioning autopilot (like various Tesla Models) have seen a big upswing. With less people on the road, it’s safer and easier to try out this new technology. Additionally, having a robotic car is much safer for deliver, transporting people, and more than a human driver who could get sick/spread the virus.
With the new requirement of social distancing, efficient public transport that relied on putting a lot of people in the same buses and metro cars has had to change up the game. Over 73% of public agencies responding to a Trapeze industry survey reported making moderate to significant changes. Many changes have been small, like offering free masks or hand sanitizer on buses. Some however, are industry-altering.
Less people on vehicles
Buses and metro cars often have half of their seats blocked, so that people can’t sit as close to one another. This is a huge change as it means they can pull in less revenue total – 50% maximum of what their potential was before. How this will effect public transport in the future remains to be seen. Especially since when most people have been vaccinated and COVID is no longer the dominating feature of going out, they will most likely open back up fully.
Cleaning procedures and cleaning frequency
Once something that was rarely considered, these are becoming a much bigger issue. Public transport and public areas like sidewalks, parks, trails, and more are finding that they have to work harder and faster to keep areas clean. Sanitizing surfaces, picking up debris, and making sure that standing water drains are now big issues. This sort of work can create jobs for more transit workers, as well as increase commute times and inconvenience many citizens.
Nobody wants the government or corporations spying on them…unfortunately, that’s exactly one thing that has increased with COVID19’s spread. The government tracks people using phone apps, cameras, and more to follow disease spread vectors. Meanwhile, big tech has had an easy time of tracking people, as a population that can’t leave home buys and does more online. Tech companies probably won’t let up any time soon, but the government will end the tracking protocols once the pandemic is over…right? It’s hard to say certainly, but a generally good guess is that the government won’t give up power once it has it.
Expect more infrastructure with cameras, checks, and ways to keep track of the populace, where we go, and what we do moving into the future.
The construction and paving boom
We should expect construction and paving and asphalt to make a huge comeback this year. As restrictions are lifted and the economy opens up more, shovels will meet soil, and bridges still need to get built.
After a year that’s seen a lot of extreme winter weather, from heavy snowfall in the Midwest and East Coast, to severe cold in Texas, there is a lot of work to be done. Paving contractors will be out in force this spring and summer, working on roads damaged by the bad winter weather. Businesses will inject more money into the asphalt paving industry as they start up again on projects that were put off in 2020.
If you need paving work done, the sooner the better
As the economy swings up and contractors become more and more in-demand, it’s a prudent choice to schedule your work sooner rather than later. Fortunately, Reliable Paving is ready for you. Our team of over 200 and 35 years of experience means we are ready to hit the ground running on the great economic rebound of 2021. Don’t put off fixing your parking lot or driveway any longer. Get it done now so you can reap the business that will come your way when things finally start getting back to normal. Let us know today what we can help you with, and you can get started on your 2021 recovery as soon as possible.