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The Impact of COVID-19 on Highway Traffic and Management: The Case Study of an Operator Perspective

1
CERIS, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, 1649-004 Lisbon, Portugal
2
ADVANCE, Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestão, 1200-781 Lisbon, Portugal
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Elżbieta Macioszek
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 5320; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095320
Received: 6 April 2021 / Revised: 5 May 2021 / Accepted: 5 May 2021 / Published: 10 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning and Disruption Outbreaks)
The COVID-19 pandemic created an enormous disruption to the everyday life of the modern society. Among the various urban systems, transportation services were among those that suffered the most significant impacts, particularly severe in the case of highways. This paper addresses the challenges and responses to the pandemic from a private highway operator’s perspective and from a multidisciplinary perspective. Highway operators faced two main challenges: on one hand, the need to cope with the potential disruption caused by the pandemic and a national lockdown for almost three months, the provision of road services, and the requirement to ensure the proper operation and maintenance, and on the other hand, the strong negative impact of the pandemic on levels of traffic. Our case study shows that the operator’s management response in question is essentially characterised by being a first response to short term impacts while balancing for workers health and safety, engineering and management, internal business management, and overall economic impact. Highway operators were hardly prepared for such an event and became more focused on prioritising their employees and clients’ safety to avoid service disruption. Regarding levels of traffic, the pandemic has had severe effects, although to a varying degree, depending on the different types of vehicles (heavy, light, passenger, freight, among other types of vehicles) and the location of highways (coastal vs. interior). The lessons learnt can be valuable in future disruptive events and for other highway concession operators. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; highway management; variation in levels of traffic COVID-19; highway management; variation in levels of traffic
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cruz, C.O.; Sarmento, J.M. The Impact of COVID-19 on Highway Traffic and Management: The Case Study of an Operator Perspective. Sustainability 2021, 13, 5320. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095320

AMA Style

Cruz CO, Sarmento JM. The Impact of COVID-19 on Highway Traffic and Management: The Case Study of an Operator Perspective. Sustainability. 2021; 13(9):5320. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095320

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cruz, Carlos O., and Joaquim M. Sarmento 2021. "The Impact of COVID-19 on Highway Traffic and Management: The Case Study of an Operator Perspective" Sustainability 13, no. 9: 5320. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095320

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