Pandemics as ‘windows of opportunity’: Transitioning towards more sustainable and resilient transport systems

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, mode - bike, mode - bus rapid transit, ridership - mode choice, policy - sustainable, land use - planning, planning - safety/accidents


COVID-19, Sustainable transition, Global South, Window of opportunity


We consider how the COVID pandemic crisis opened a window of opportunity for creating resilient and sustainable transport systems in Metro Manila, the megacity capital of the Philippines. Because of the pandemic, public health protection has become the top priority, which requires adherence to health protocols, such as physical distancing and sanitization, severely affecting the financial viability of operators of public transport. Selection pressures were unleashed, causing radical disruptions on incumbent public transport systems. Cycling, which was largely non-existent in Metro Manila, suddenly emerged as a top mode of choice for many despite the injury-related risks involved. A key finding is that the destabilization, while disruptive of the status quo, also creates opportunities for the government to pursue policies that may improve financial viability for operators and safety for cyclists, which include: revamp of business model from franchise to service contracting, social support and financing, implementation of bus rapid transit and infrastructure for active mobility.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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