Can COVID-19 policy interventions redeem risk concerns of public transport? Results of a hybrid choice model in the Netherlands

Chao Chen, Tao Feng, Xiaoning Gu

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic

Abstract

COVID-19 policy countermeasures have a big impact on individuals’ travel routines. Public transport which is traditionally promoted as a green travel option relative to private cars has a different position during the pandemic period because of the potential risk of infection in sharing spaces. In some countries where private car ownership is high, the influence of COVID-19 pandemic on the use of public transport perhaps is not obvious, while in other areas where public transport takes the major modal share, it becomes necessary to maintain its availability and promote safe travel environment. Various policy measures have been implemented during the pandemic in different countries, e.g. social distancing, in-vehicle disinfection. It remains unclear however, to what extent these policies are effective to reduce the potential risk perception of people, which in turn influences the travel behaviour of using public transportation. Differing from the normal situation where general concerns on travel time and cost determine the travel choices, the uncertainty underlying behavior change in the case of a pandemic might be largely attributed to the latent aspects, i.e., social responsibility, risk perception, attitudes, which could diminish the effects of main attributes on travel decisions. This paper, therefore, is to examine the effects of COVID-19 related policies on individuals' travel choices that are influenced by the latent aspects. A hybrid choice model was estimated using the data collected in the Netherlands. Results show that COVID-19 related policies significantly affect individuals' transportation mode choice decision during pandemic situations. The attributes, like travel time and travel cost, which have significant impact on the travel behavior in normal situations, become insignificant. Moreover, the travel preferences during the pandemic are significantly associated with latent factors of social responsibility, fear of infection, perceived risk, and travel anxiety. In general, public transport is identified as an insecure alternative compared with other private modes, and people who are more socially responsible tend to travel less in the pandemic. Outcomes of this study could be of value for policymakers, e.g., government authorities could utilize such knowledge for designing and promoting innovative and effective policies in pandemic and other public health emergencies.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2021
EventThe Seventh International Conference on Integrated Land Use Transport Modeling - Xi'an, China
Duration: 18 Jun 202119 Jun 2021

Conference

ConferenceThe Seventh International Conference on Integrated Land Use Transport Modeling
Country/TerritoryChina
CityXi'an
Period18/06/2119/06/21

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