Effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on crowding aversion in public transport and transport mode choice: The case of Santiago, Chile

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - south america, place - urban, mode - bike, mode - car, mode - pedestrian, mode - bus, mode - subway/metro, planning - surveys, operations - crowding, ridership - behaviour, ridership - mode choice, ridership - perceptions


Mode choice, crowding


Mode choice modeling has shown a significant crowding effect over travel time perception. But the recent COVID-19 pandemic and the related sanitary measures have changed perceptions of overcrowding on the mode choice. This study aims to quantify these changes through a hybrid discrete choice model using data collected through a revealed preferences survey applied in two time periods in Santiago, Chile. Although the overcrowding aversion was included in the choice model as a latent variable, that had a significant effect on the mode choice of people only for the set of responses belonging to the first time period, which implies a reduction of the initial pandemic impact. Results also show that women and people younger than 35 years old have higher levels of crowding aversion. By analyzing the disutility generated by each alternative mode, it is determined that the bicycle is preferred over the car for trips of distances less than 4 km. In the same way, for trips of less than 3 km, the walk has a preference over public transport. Regarding the marginal rates of substitution between travel and walking time in public transport, for trips of 30 min with an overcrowding level of 6 pax/m2, women over 35 years are willing to trade 2 min of travel for 1 min of walking. When comparing the rates obtained in a pre-pandemic study, it is obtained that for trips of less than 9 min, people in the pandemic have more preferences for walking over spending time inside public transport.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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