Global Pandemic Impact on Transport and Mobility

The COVID-19 pandemic has sent a shock wave through our society, and is permanently changing the world as we know it. Our global economy has been severely disrupted, from supply chains and markets, to workers and trade, laying bare the weaknesses in our overall preparedness for disasters and global crises.

We, as the sustainable, low carbon transport community, must reflect on the significant implications the pandemic has had on how we move people and goods, as well as what this will mean for the future of transport. As a community, we must ensure that we use this pivotal moment to advance our vision for more equitable, accessible, and low carbon transport systems, while working together to do our part in combating the spread of COVID-19.

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the SLOCAT Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport are engaged in a multiyear collaboration to provide data and analysis , capacity-building, and advocacy on transport and climate change to IsDB member countries. At the 2022 Middle East and North Africa Climate Week, SLOCAT and IsDB delivered a think tank session which discussed how social and economic recovery and resilience can be accelerated through increased investment in public, shared and active transport. [Session Presentation]

The outcomes of the session have informed this issue brief, which illustrates impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on mobility in IsDB sub-regions and the role of sustainable transport towards a green, equitable and resilient recovery.

Knowledge and Resources

A new global hub for transport-related information concerning the COVID-19 pandemic

SLOCAT has served as the lead contributor to the knowledge hub, which  is coordinated and hosted by the International Road Federation. Click below to learn about sub-sector specific policy responses and recovery pathways emerging in light of the pandemic.

COVID-19 and Mobility: Reflections from the SLOCAT Board of Directors

Shared by Kalpana Viswanath, Co-Founder and CEO, Safetipin

Not everyone can work from home – it is the privilege of certain kinds of occupations. Factory workers, domestic workers, health workers, street vendors, the hospitality sector  – in reality all blue collar workers as well as those in the informal sector, will need to venture out of their homes to be able to earn money and survive.”

Shared by Aimee Gauthier, Chief Knowledge Officer, ITDP

Now is the moment when we need to come to terms with transportation as political… We as a sector have had a harder time coming to terms with transportation as values, as power dynamics writ large through our cities, as manifestations and perpetuators of historical and current inequities, including colonialism, racism, xenophobia, etc.”

Shared by Sergio Avelleda, Director of Urban Mobility, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities

“Public budgets must consolidate the amounts spent on individual motorised transport. This is the first step to qualify the discussion on funding measures for public transport based on charging the use of cars and motorcycles. Expenses with individual motorised transport should be presented in a single budget line so as to give visibility and transparency to the expenditures.”

Shared by François Davenne, Director General, UIC

UIC has launched the COVID-19 Task Force, which held its kick-off meeting by video conference on 5 March 2020. Since then, and in the spirit of sharing current practices, UIC members and partner organisations have provided the Task Force with relevant information leading to the publication of a series of guidance documents.

Shared by Rana Adib, Executive Director, REN21

“COVID-19 forcibly separated us, but it should also bring us together: both the energy and transport sectors need to cooperate to seize this unusual moment, so that we put in place innovative strategies and policies that allow people and goods to be transported cleanly and efficiently – and better than before.”

Shared by Mohammed Alsayed, Manager, Public Private Partnership Division at Islamic Development Bank, and published in the IsDB SDG Digest Special Edition on COVID-19

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) allocates US$ 2.3 billion for its Group Strategic Preparedness and Response Programme for COVID-19 pandemic which aims to support Member Countries’ efforts to prevent, contain, mitigate and recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

Written by Tsu-Jui Cheng, on behalf of Gino Van Begin, ICLEI Secretary General

“Public transport is keeping cities moving through the crisis, getting essential workers to their jobs and supporting essential services. However, this is high risk work for drivers and operators even as they step up use of personal protective equipment and hygiene measures.”

Shared by Bronwen Thornton, SLOCAT Board Chair and Walk21 CEO

“Our shoes are the essential low carbon ‘vehicles’ that need priority over other modes, to get the world back on its feet and provide the foundation for the recovery of all other sustainable mobility and more liveable urban streets and public spaces for everyone.”


SLOCAT seeks to empower change-makers to ensure the economic viability of, the affordable access to and the right investments in transport and mobility services and infrastructure as a vital piece to green, equitable recovery.

Additional Resources