The heads of ITS-Arab and ITS Estonia have joined a former ITS America President to discuss the implications of the Coronavirus crisis in their regions.
Independent consultant Scott Belcher, the former President and CEO of ITS America, told host Paul Hutton that the transport industry is being devastated. “Air travel is down 95%,” he said. “If you go to an airport you’re really in no man’s land. There’s virtually nobody there. On the highway system, take the biggest holiday in your country and multiply it times 10. And that’s what it’s like. This has a huge implication for our country because much of our transportation is funded by gas (petrol) taxes…which have fallen off a cliff.”
In Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Serroukh, Director General of ITS-Arab and also General Manager at Kapsch in the region, explained how lockdown happened fast. “It started off with all international flights stopped, and that developed into schools closing, all the shopping mails, the restaurants. Travelling between cities was also stopped. So now we’re in a position where to leave your neighbourhood to go anywhere, you have to go online to apply for a permit before you can get out.”
The use of speed cameras to enforce the lockdown was discussed with with Serroukh saying that, “technology already in employment has definitely been used and customised in some cases, to provide early data or even insight ….to provide some kind of early warning or enforcement. But they’ve also been very quick in developing and deploying online applications for like permits and delivery services of food, etc.”
Head of ITS Estonia, Maara Rannama discussed how there is a hope that the country may be looking to come out of the lockdown fairly soon, but that she doubted things would return to the way they were. “I think there are changes of a paradigm here. The way people behave, it can’t be the exact same again…or at least it will take years. I think we should think more about digital solutions. I can see from my side, from our members side, that many of them have already reacted very quickly with really smart solutions. We should focus more and more on digital.”
Watch the whole 30 minute webinar here: