Understanding the Effect of Pervasive Events Like COVID-19 on Vehicle Travel Time Patterns During Various Stages

Global pandemics and pervasive events such as the COVID-19 disrupt day-to-day activities like personal (home-work trips) and commercial trips (shopping trips and freight transportation) due to safety, risk of getting affected or other associated concerns. The actual travel patterns during global pandemics or pervasive events are different from the normal travel patterns forecasted by regional travel demand models.

The effect of a pervasive event like COVID-19 is not limited to a single time frame but a series of stages due to the mutations and variants (such as Delta, Omicron, etc.). Such stages affect the travel patterns based on the restrictions and measures imposed by the state and federal health agencies. Transportation system users’ needs and perception of travel also changes over the course of pervasive events.

Over the past two years, numerous researchers analyzed the effects of COVID-19 on travel and related metrics to understand the underlying patterns. While the past research provides insights on the overall effect of COVID-19, they fall short of a deeper understanding of travel or travel time patterns during the various stages of such a pervasive event.

This research aims to bridge this gap and focuses on travel time patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic, at each stage by vehicle type (passenger car or truck), road functional class, and area type.

Mineta Consortium for Transportation Mobility
Principal Investigator: 
Srinivas S Pulugurtha, PhD
PI Contact Information: 

Srinivas Pulugurtha

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

March 2023
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation: 

The findings will provide vital insights on transportation system users’ needs and perception on travel and mobility  during various stages of a pervasive event like the COVID-19 pandemic. The outcomes also serve as an assessment framework and guidance for state, regional, and local transportation practitioners to better plan and implement strategies accounting for the effect of pervasive events such as COVID-19 in the future.

Project Number: 



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