The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has seriously affected the normal functioning of our communities and citizens daily life . Apart from the significant impact in each country public healthcare systems, the establishment of curfews, mobility restrictions and the understandable concerns experienced by citizens seriously affected commerce and retail (with the closure of many shops and businesses). Also, the daily mobility of people was no exception in this reality with the emergence of teleworking that came to replace face-to-face work in many activities which practically suppressed the visits to Almada City Center and the Regional Action Plan target area. For this reason, Almada City Council decided to postpone the project implementation until a more favorable context occurs.
However, the development of RESOLVE activities has continued, in particular the Evaluation and Monitoring survey #4 during October/November 2020, which due to the COVID-19 restrictions was developed through an online questionnaire instead of a face-to-face approach. The results of this survey provided very interesting data and analysis regarding the daily shopping trips of citizens and their change of habits. Leisure and shopping remain the most relevant reason for the trips to the city center, although the fear of using Public Transport has reflected in the modal share of trips– more than half of the respondents who visited Almada’s city center used their private car as transport mode.
The frequency of trips to the city center has significantly decreased among the respondents (naturally, COVID being the most frequent reason identified by the residents of Almada), but the majority intends to return to their previous habits in terms of daily trips, after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lifting of the restrictions on mobility.
These results provide the City Council with valuable information and evidence that it is fundamental to “plan ahead” and implement Almada’s Regional Action Plan developed within the framework of RESOLVE project. The Action Plan contains a set of actions to reduce traffic generated by shopping trips, excessive congestion and pollutant emissions by promoting alternatives for shopkeepers and customers – the main action will be the establishment of a Decarbonization Living Lab (LVpD) which will include FAROL, a small-scale Urban Consolidation Center that will serve the retailers and shopkeepers of “Candido dos Reis” street, the target area of the RESOLVE project.