Does being concerned about virus risk put people off travelling?

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Bus, Car, Cycling, Train, Walking

What does the image show?

We asked people “How worried or not have you been about catching coronavirus?”

  • (1) Not at all …
  • (5) Extremely worried

Taking an average of their scores in spring and October we then put this against their change in transport mode use. Concern about Covid-19 is significantly related to the reduction in the frequency of use of every method of transport, except taxi use. Bus use shows a non-linear pattern whereby high concern is related to lower bus use, but relatively high levels of general concern also exist for those using the bus more.

Why is this important?

As England moves to a period when mask wearing will no longer be mandatory it seems clear that people’s attitudes to risk are quite varied and that this has an impact on frequency of travel overall and willingness to use different modes. Some people however have no choice but to travel by public transport (61% of bus users and 56% of train users in our sample) and this will mean that many people who would otherwise prefer not to travel in conditions of high Covid transmission risk will be doing so.

Figure: Shows the relationshio between the degree of change in use of each mode of transport and the level of concern about Covid-19.

Data correllating people's concern about Covid-19 with their atittudes to transport shows that there has been a large reduction in all forms, particularly as a passenger in a car.