As our world struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic, with some glimmers of hope of emerging after extensive social regulations and vaccines, we now have this opportunity to recollect experience of the road sector in the past year, and to look ahead.

For the last 70 years since the end of Second World War, the road industry has worked very hard to expand road networks, to upgrade services, and to respond to climate change. The hard work, together with those to improve rail, sea, and air transport, bring a much better-connected world than in any other time.

This progress has been put in jeopardy as the pandemic hit the road sector badly. One impact has been the perception that transport connections, such as roads and air transport, helped spread the virus. By March 2020, almost all Asia and Pacific countries imposed domestic and international travel restrictions. We all observed amazing images of empty roads, sometimes only with birds and animals on them. Secondly, formal and informal road-based public transport were badly impacted by restrictions.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 20, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.