How contactless travel will help transform urban mobility in a post-COVID world

With heightened consumer uncertainty over commuting and the challenges in practising safe social-distancing on journeys, so-called ‘open loop’ contactless travel is helping to re-shape the transit experience, enabling riders to access transit systems using something they already own – whether a credit or debit card, smartwatch or smartphone – without any need to obtain, download or load funds on to a transit fare card in advance.

Air travel and transport ridership eventually recovered from catastrophic events such as the attacks of 9/11 and the 2003 SARS epidemic. But recent surveys show that the road to a post-COVID normal remains more fraught. Governments and transit agencies must plan for longer-term recovery while trying to model the trajectory of work-from-home preferences and policies that could persist for years.