Impact of COVID-19: A radical modal shift from public to private transport mode

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, ridership - behaviour, ridership - commuting, ridership - mode choice, planning - surveys, planning - personal safety/crime


COVID-19, Mode choice, Mode shift, Public transport, Car


The unprecedented shock triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant impact on public transportation services, travel behavior and mode choice preferences. Increasing risk of virus contagion in shared travel modes might result in a systemic shift from public transport to car commute. Such a shift causes increased congestions, emissions with a burden on the existing infrastructure. Given the urgent need of reconsideration of transport in a post-COVID world, this study presents insights into the possible shift from public transport to car commute due to the coronavirus crisis, potential factors influencing the mode shift, with emphasis being also laid on suitable strategies for promoting public transport use in the future world. Based on an online questionnaire survey conducted in India, results of logistic regression model indicate that commuters' socio-economic characteristics such as age, gender and monthly income tend to significantly influence mode switch preferences. In addition, trip characteristics including travel time, overcrowding and hygiene are strongly associated with mode shift preferences from public transport to car use. Commuters' perceptions on several strategies for promoting public transport have also been assessed, which will indeed pave the way for the formulation of post-COVID transport policies. In essence, efforts need to be directed towards restoring users’ confidence and trust by providing a safe, secure and healthy environment to the public transport users.


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


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