These are unprecedented times we are currently living in, not because pandemics are a new thing or because we have never experienced an economic downturn. This pandemic will have an impact on temporary traffic management and other industries. We are living in unprecedented times because of our interconnectedness and the ability for many people to continue to work, study and generally carry on with the essential parts of life while they stay at home.

We all thought that when the world finally started to fall apart (and its not) that those with practical hands on skills would be the somewhat indispensable and those that had desk jobs would be redundant, it seems that in the short term its exactly the opposite. 

COVID-19 has certainly brought some immediate challenges, but for those that are in our industry that can adapt, the rewards are there for the taking. 

Let’s look at an immediate impact on temporary traffic management of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated government emergency measures on one of its vital sectors, training and certification. 

As COVID-19 loomed large and New Zealand went to alert level 2 on the 21st March, I observed a little bit of uneasiness in my CoPTTM course’s, attendees weren’t happy at being in an enclosed space for 7-8 hours even-though we were applying strategies to promote social distancing. With the alert level 4 restrictions, including not being able to travel and staying in your own bubble, it was clear that training in the traditional sense was no longer viable. This had an immediate impact on companies both large and small, that were in the CoPTTM training and delivery space, as sources of revenue were literally shut off overnight. This has been nothing short of disastrous for many companies and stand-alone trainers whose income is solely derived from training. Until the restrictions are lifted, government subsidies are going some way to helping many tread water. A huge negative impact on temporary traffic management? resounding yes, but there have also been positive impacts too. 

They say that necessity is the mother of invention and survival is the ability to move with and adapt to a changing environment. For necessities sake how do you carryon delivering training when the interface for that training has been suspended? The answer is you find a new interface, make a proposal to the governing authority (the NZTA) and adapt your delivery to that new interface. In this case the invention, the webinar platform was already available and for those that are flexible and able to utilise existing technology the webinar has become the new interface for selected CoPTTM training and some other very cool TTM related webinars. 

This sharing of TTM knowledge via the webinar revolution on platforms such as Zoom or GoTo webinar along with the need for everyone to work from home has created opportunities for many influential movers and shakers to get before large audiences to share views, opinions, ideas and specialist knowledge from industry experts that would not normally be available to every-one. Necessity is a powerful transformer, I for one welcome the innovation that necessity can bring, and i hope the online exploration into TTM course and seminars long continues. Yes, you could say that there have been a couple of immediate positive impacts to balance out the negative ones.