As the coronavirus pandemic tightens its grip around the world, city streets have transformed overnight. With offices, schools, businesses and public institutions closing their doors, and households buttoning up under “shelter in place” orders, roads from Beirut to London to Atlanta have become arteries without blood. In the U.S., average traffic speeds have significantly increased in every major metropolitan area in the U.S., according to INRIX, a traffic data analytics company, by as much as 60% in Chicago as of the end of April, 2020.
a) Short-term passenger travel trends in affected cities during the pandemic
b) Long-term changes to mode choice and travel patterns during the recovery
c) The effect of social distancing policies on transit use and mobility patterns
d) Freight, logistics, and supply chain impacts in response to the pandemic
e)Economic impacts on agencies’ revenue collection and operating/capital budgets
In the past 2 months, following short-term impacts have been observed:
a) Traffic volumes and travel times have dropped dramatically, and road usage is well below capacity
b) Commuting activity from the suburbs and rural locations to urban locations have reduced drastically
c) Significant reduction in crashes have been observed
Prior to the full stay-at-home order, researchers observed a shift towards micromobility modes and non-mass transit away from densely crowded alternatives. Following the lifting of the stay-at-home order, even as travel trends stabilize, a long-term shift in mobility patterns might emerge. This might include:
a) An increase in non-shared modes of travel such as bike/scooter and a decrease in shared modes such as public transportation and ride-sharing
b) A net decrease in home-to-work trips due to increased adoption of working from home
c) A reduction in tourism
d) A reduction in travel due to systemic unemployment and economic slowdown
One month into the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a radical change in travel patterns. Transit ridership and motor vehicle trips are significantly down, and as a result less congestion and fewer reported traffic crashes are observed. Some trip reductions seem to reach the floor at the end of May. While trip reductions have led to faster and safer trips for essential trips, the foregoing declines in transit ridership and vehicular traffic using tolled roadways will also result in massive shortfalls in revenue for transportation agencies.