Coronavirus has impacted every single aspect of our day-to-day lives, including our jobs. One of the occupations that has been greatly impacted by COVID is civil engineering. Here are five ways in which are industry has been affected.
- The necessity for public transportation has reduced greatly. The percentage of people utilizing public transportation has decreased by up to 90% in Washington D.C. and up to 95% in New York City, according to an article by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. This is largely in part because most people have avoided public transportation unless they heavily rely on it, since public transportation itself often consists of small, enclosed spaces. This reduction in usage could yield to less public transportation options in the future, especially as people who have depended on public transportation for their commute to work have realized a good portion of their work can be done remotely, negating their need for public transportation. However, this would disproportionately impact lower income communities who depend on public transportation more.
- Changes in usage of personal transportation options While car travel has stayed the same (and passenger travel decreased slightly), bike travel dropped significantly during the early months of the pandemic. This could lead to less bike lanes being included on roads, and less need for bike accommodations in general. Once the world in general becomes safer and masks do not need to be worn with the same frequency, bike ridership will probably increase, but the early drop in ridership early into the pandemic may have a lasting impact on the bike
- Impact on travel behaviors. The change in common travel behaviors during COVID-19 will definitely have a lasting impact on the prediction of future transportation methods. For example, the shift toward teleworking, which is predicted to last long after the pandemic, will impact traffic patterns, as rush hour congestion will no longer be the same degree of an issue. Additionally, many shops and restaurants have expanded their options for online ordering, which could lead to less congestion on key shopping roads.
- Impact on freight. Most freight industries experienced significant change throughout the pandemic. The number of truck drivers has dropped significantly and some portions of freight work has been taken over by robots and drones. This has impacted traffic at distribution centers. Additionally, the traffic in and out of ports has decreased greatly. These changes have altered the necessities for traffic control methods on highways and how to anticipate truck traffic in the long term.
- Impact on construction in general. Social distancing guidelines have meant that there need to be less workers on a construction site. This means construction projects can take longer than usual. However, many construction companies have realized that the design end of their work can be done remotely, which has led to some changes in the way project designers work and go about their projects. An article by Engineering News Record identifies another major conflict COVID has inflicted on construction: closed borders have made it harder for some companies to import materials, which has caused some projects to come to a halt entirely. Once travel is less restricted, these projects should be able to resume as normal, but the months of restrictions have caused major setbacks.