Assessing effects of pandemic-related policies on individual public transit travel patterns

  • Date: 02/20/2024

During a pandemic or natural disaster, people may alter transit usage behavior due to perception of changes in the environment. To effectively respond to these crises, it is important for governments and public transit agencies to understand when these changes occurred and how they were affected by relevant policies and responsive strategies.

In this study, we develop a methodological framework to identify the occurrence time, direction, and persistency of changes in individual-level transit usage. We demonstrate the effectiveness of this framework in informing government decision-making in the context of COVID-19. Using Jeju Island, South Korea as a case study, we apply the framework over a nearly two-year smart card dataset collected from the beginning of 2019 till nine months into the pandemic. By focusing on frequent transit users, we detect when these users significantly changed their transit usage frequency during the pandemic and identify several types of users who experienced different behavior change patterns.

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