COVID-19 Implications on Public Transportation: Understanding Post-Pandemic Transportation Needs, Behaviors, and Experiences


Yingling Fan, Andy Becker, Galen Ryan, Julian Wolfson

November 2022

Report no. CTS 22-08

The COVID-19 pandemic and widespread social distancing measures have dramatically reduced public transit ridership, leaving transit agencies with massive revenue shortfalls, and it is still unclear how long it will take for transit to recover and whether transit will emerge fundamentally transformed for better or worse after the pandemic. This research collected first-hand data on people's post-pandemic travel behavior decision-making process in the Twin Cities metropolitan region between March and June 2021. Participants were recruited through various forms of digital marketing tools such as a website, social media, emails, and online videos. Of the 339 participants who were enrolled in the study, 154 (45%) used a smartphone app to capture daily transportation needs, behaviors, and experiences for two consecutive weeks. The data provided insights into how the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped people?s attitudes, perceptions, and decisions toward various transportation services, including public transportation, and how the mobility impacts of COVID-19 differ by individual socio-demographics and trip environments. Results from this research will help transportation planners identify innovative and sensible ways to effectively promote the use of public transportation in the post-pandemic era.

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