Transportation, COVID-19, and Earth Day 2020

April 22, 2020

Bay Bridge with very sparse traffic in April 2020

Today is the 50th Earth Day. It's also a a month into the COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place order in California, which has illustrated how our normal course of business impacts the environment. Across the world air pollution as dramatically decreased due to lockdowns to prevent COVID-19 infections. This has also been true in California as people stay home, drive less, and the freeways remain empty. This leads to the question - will COVID-19 have longterm impacts on carbon emissions? What about clean energy and our dependence on oil

On Earth Day 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, some are taking a moment to reflect on how the coronavirus might offer a glimpse at a different future, with clean air and uncongested roads. The lasting effects of COVID-19 on transportation are still uncertain, but it's likely that major changes to driving, transit, micromobility, shared mobility, and active transport are taking place right now. It also needs to be noted that air pollution may be a "key contributor" to COVID-19 deaths, which also underlines the racial disparities in COVID-19 deaths in the United States

So take some time today to go outside - maybe go for a walk or bike ride, giving appropriate social distance thanks to the slow streets in Oakland and San Francisco - and enjoy the fresh air. (Through a mask of course.)