New Report: At a crossroads – Travel adaptations during Covid-19 restrictions and where next?

Authors: Greg Marsden, Jillian Anable, Iain Docherty and Llinos Brown

Covid-19 has forced countries around the world to make massive adaptations to the normal way of life to reduce the risk of the spread of the virus. This briefing sets out new insights into how people’s travel patterns have adapted over time and why. It draws on national data sources and a major panel survey of over 6000 people conducted in July and December 2020. It calls for a major realignment of investment and policy to ensure that we do not return to the overcrowded, congested, polluting and unhealthy transport system that people had come to accept as inevitable.

cars bought and given up

COVID19 Transport, Travel and Social Adaptation Emergency Data Collection

This is a UKRI funded project to conduct research to understand the transport and travel related impacts of COVID-19, and to inform responses to this. Data will be collected over the course of 12 months through a longitudinal multi-site series of surveys and interviews.

The study will seek to address the following questions:

  • Where have virtual activities taken the place of physical activities? To what extent? What would need to happen to maintain this?
  • Has the reduction in how often we do different activities led to new patterns of we get things done?
  • Longer-term, how will social distancing impact the attractiveness of public transport, cycling and car use?
  • Which changes are due to social distancing itself, and which are due to the wider changes in the economy and people’s finances?

The aim is to promote sharing of understanding of the conditions on the ground, to debate options based on the evidence provided, and to understand implications for long and short term policy making.

We are open to collaboration with a wide a range of stakeholders. We welcome enquiries from regional and local authorities interested in data collection and analysis around these questions for their area. Our study will go live using an online panel survey provider in May 2020.