Experts discussed the results of an analysis of the transport preferences of citizens, their changes during the pandemic and the impact on transport reform in the city during the round table "Smart Transport Solutions", which was held as part of the 8th international Emerging Markets conference 2021 of the Graduate School of Management of St. Petersburg University (GSOM SPbU).
The research, carried out by faculty and students at the Business School, formed the basis for the discussion of the changes in the behavior of city residents because of the pandemic. The idea of public transport reform in St. Petersburg was formed even before the onset of the coronavirus crisis — and probably, now requires rethinking in the context of the events of the last one and a half years.
“The analysis of data on the transport preferences of city residents, as well as the formation of approaches to their adjustment, should become an integral tool of transport policy within the smart city paradigm,” said Ekaterina Sokolova, moderator of the round table, Academic Director of the Master in Smart City Management Program, Associate Professor at GSOM SPbU. Opening the event, she emphasized: “Smart solutions are not necessarily something that is supported by technology, but first of all, decisions that are well thought out and, most importantly, that take into account the interests of citizens and their needs”. This position was supported by Pavel Bakanov from the Talking City Project, adding that those who have are also interested in specialized smart solutions.
GSOM SPbU Doctoral student Egor Starshov presented the results of an analysis of transport behavior in 2019 and 2020. The study showed, in particular, that the share of St. Petersburg residents who use public transport once a year or less increased significantly — from 8% to 24%. At the same time, the share of the number of citizens who travel on it almost every day has also increased — from 33% to 38%.
The researchers ranked the importance of factors determining the choice of citizens in favor of public transport. The “top three” has not changed during the year: it includes “travel time”, “availability of a convenient route” and “strict adherence to the schedule”. At the same time, during the pandemic, the need for timetable information has increased and the relative importance of the duration of public transport has decreased.
Based on this analysis, preliminary conclusions can be drawn that during the coronavirus crisis, the demand for public transport has decreased among car owners. In addition, on the eve of the public transport reform, the popularity of minibuses deteriorated (the share of their regular passengers fell from 20% to 9% in the total passenger traffic) — a factor that cannot be ignored, as well as the fact that passengers began to travel less during rush hours and to use travel tickets.
“Large polls delay modernization- if we are to take into account their results, it is a long procedure. But it is precisely such polls stich help us to understand how people move around the city. This is especially important now that the covid pandemic has influenced the behavior of the townspeople. More than a pandemic, the transport system is influenced, perhaps, only by a change of generations, the emergence of new large locations for work and large-scale housing complexes. However, due to epidemic circumstances, 2020 is so atypical that the situation should only be analyzed in the perspective of a number of years."
Ilya Reznikov, an expert in the transport development of territories at the Urbanica Institute of Spatial Planning
The unpredictability and atypical nature of the development of the transport system in response to the coronavirus shock was also emphasized by Sofya Katkova, project manager at Morstroytechnology, pointing out significant changes in the structure of traffic flows as a response to the pandemic.
Pavel Adarich, Deputy Director for the Transportation Organization of St. Petersburg took into account the behavioral factor: "During the pandemic the number of passengers was decreasing, but now there is a tendency to regain its former volume."
“Our main task is to develop infrastructure in such a way that the accessibility of transport for passengers increase this is the basis for the new model of transport services, which we are now introducing. This applies to both physical accessibility — for people with limited mobility, which represent a significant part of passenger traffic, and financia considerationsl — for such a privileged category of users, such as schoolchildren and students. For example: many of our metro stations were designed 65 years ago to meet completely different requirements. We must change them today. "
Valentin Enokaev, First Deputy Chairman of the Transport Committee of the Administration of St. Petersburg