Hyderabad, Bombay IITs Study Change In Travel Patterns Due To COVID-19 Crisis
IIT Hyderabad and IIT Bombay researchers have studied the impact of COVID outbreak on daily commute during the transition phase between pre-lockdown and the lockdown period.
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad and IIT Bombay researchers have studied the impact of COVID outbreak on daily commute during the transition phase between pre-lockdown and the lockdown period. The researchers, according to a statement released by IIT Bombay, believe that the lockdown decision taken by the government has decreased risk of exposure to the coronavirus, due to decrease in crowded setting observed in public transport such as buses, metro and trains.
This study, the statement also said, is useful in understanding the decision-making behavior of commuters while selecting their preferred mode of transport during a pandemic like COVID-19.
The research team comprised Dr Digvijay S Pawar and Dr Pritha Chatterjee, Assistant Professors, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Hyderabad and Prof Nagendra Velaga, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Bombay, and Ankit Kumar Yadav, Research student, IIT Bombay.
This study analyzed travel and visit behaviour changes that occurred during third week of COVID-19 outbreak in Indian during pre-lockdown period.
The data related to daily commute and visit behaviour was collected through an online questionnaire survey.
More than 1,900 people participated in the study.
The researchers received a majority of their response from Tier-1 cities (63.6 per cent) followed by Tier-2 (20.6 per cent) and Tier-3 cities (15.8 per cent).
Emphasizing on the importance of the study in shaping relevant policies related to COVID-19, Dr Pawar said, "Given the uncertainties in the minds of the commuters regarding their travel behaviour due to social distancing, it is important for policymakers and local transport authorities in general to understand the change in travel pattern."
In Tier-1 cities, it was found that about 12 per cent of the respondents switched from public to private mode during the third week of COVID-19.
This modal shift was about 9 per cent in Tier-2 cities and about 7 per cent in Tier-3 cities.
Moreover, nearly 48 per cent of people said that they did not travel to work during the third week of March, whereas 28 per cent had the same frequency of travel to work.
When enquired about cancellation of trips between the cities using major mode of transportation, around 18 per cent said they cancelled their flights whereas, 20 per cent of respondents cancelled train journeys.
This indicates that the awareness about COVID-19 is higher in Tier-1 cities, followed by Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities.
Elaborating on the upcoming studies being planned, Dr Chatterjee said, "We are also trying to understand the effect of COVID-19 on transportation related emissions. The data on reduction in vehicle miles travelled and vehicle type will be used to quantitatively model the reduction in traffic related emissions."
The respondents were also enquired about their safety perception towards the use of public and private modes of transport, where 93 per cent said that private mode of transport is safer compared to the public mode.
The researchers recommended spreading more awareness about the ill-effects and spread of COVID-19, especially among the weaker sections of the society.
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