, Associate Dean for Faculty, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Neil Linscheid, Associate Professor, UM Extension
Xinyi Qian, Director and state specialist, UM Extension
Galen Ryan, Research Professional, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
This project investigated the perceived safety risks and barriers that might prevent transit and shared mobility services from attracting post-COVID riders in Greater Minnesota. It included an online survey of Greater Minnesota residents to understand their COVID-related safety concerns and their preferences and perceptions toward existing and potential safety protocols. The survey results show that, during the post-COVID era, driving alone continues to dominate, but desires to use transit and shared mobility modes remain strong. Lack of access, lack of interest, and lack of available better alternatives jointly affect transit-use behavior. Women, people with COVID concerns, urban residents, online shoppers, and transit users are associated with stronger preferences toward COVID safety measures. People with COVID concerns, online shoppers, and transit users are also associated with preferences toward general transit service improvements. Researchers also found that elderly people, hesitant tech users, and transit-dependent users are unlikely to be positively affected by trip-planning tools and contactless payment technology. Furthermore, income and car ownership predict future transit use, and younger age is associated with more interest in carpooling. These results help to inform transit and shared mobility providers about what safety and communications strategies will be most effective in bringing users back.