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Impacts of Covid-19 Mode Shift on Road Traffic

Published time: 4 May 2020

Authors: Yue Hu, Will Barbour , Samitha Samaranayake , Dan Work


This article is driven by the following question: as the communities reopen after the COVID-19 pandemic, will changing transportation mode share lead to worse traffic than before? This question could be critical especially if many people rush to single occupancy vehicles. To this end, we estimate how congestion will increases as the number of cars increase on the road, and identify the most sensitive cites to drop in transit usage. Travel time and mode share data from the American Community Survey of the US Census Bureau, for metro areas across the US. A BPR model is used to relate average travel times to the estimated number of commuters traveling by car. We then evaluate increased vehicle volumes on the road if different portions of transit and car pool users switch to single-occupancy vehicles, and report the resulting travel time from the BPR model. The scenarios predict that cities with large transit ridership are at risk for extreme traffic unless transit systems can resume safe, high throughput operations quickly.

Impacts of Covid-19 mode shift on road traffic



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