Understanding post-COVID safety concerns towards the use of transit, shared mobility, and connected and automated vehicles in Greater Minnesota

Principal Investigator(s):

Yingling Fan, Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs


  • Neil Linscheid, Associate Professor, UM Extension
  • Xinyi Qian, Associate Extension Professor, UM Extension
  • Galen Ryan, Research Professional, Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Project summary:

The COVID-19 pandemic and widespread social distancing measures have dramatically reduced the usage of public and shared transportation services, leaving transit and shared mobility providers with massive revenue shortfalls. This research project aims to investigate the perceived safety risks and barriers that might prevent transit and shared mobility services to attract post-COVID riders in Greater Minnesota. The types of transit and shared mobility services covered in this research will not only include those currently in operation in Greater Minnesota, but also potential future transit and shared mobility services that are in conception or planning for Greater Minnesota, e.g., potential services to be provided by the Connected and Automated Vehicles. An online survey will be sent targeting Greater Minnesota residents across the state to gather first-hand data on public perceptions towards the use of transit, shared mobility, and connected and automated vehicles and the associated post-COVID safety concerns. The research will provide existing and future mobility providers in rural and small town areas a better understanding of what safety protocols they need to enact and how these actions should be presented to the public in order to promote the return of ridership as quickly as possible. Ridership revenue is important to both transit and shared mobility providers; understanding how to draw riders back to their services as communities reopen from COVID-19 restrictions will be critical for their long-term viability. Further, many government and non-profit organizations have long-term interests in developing robust regional transit and shared transportation systems (e.g., car share, bike share, and shared automated vehicles systems) to meet their sustainability, livability, prosperity, and equity goals. By covering both existing and future mobility services, the project will provide insights into how new and emerging technologies might be leveraged to transform transit and shared mobility services in a way that addresses public safety concerns.

Project details: