Investigating the effectiveness of COVID-19 pandemic countermeasures on the use of public transport: A case study of The Netherlands

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, planning - methods, planning - personal safety/crime, ridership - behaviour, ridership - mode choice, ridership - modelling, ridership - perceptions


Travel behavior, Public transport, COVID-19 pandemic, Taste variation, Error component latent class choice model


During the COVID-19 pandemic, public transport in many cities faces dramatic reduction of passenger demand. Various countermeasures such as social distancing and in-vehicle disinfection have been implemented to reduce the potential risks concerning infection, the effectiveness in promoting the use of public transport however remains unclear. Unlike the usual situation where time and cost are the main factors affecting travel decisions, the uncertainty hiding behind the behavior change of public transport users in a pandemic might be greatly affected by the control measures and the perception of people. This paper therefore aims to examine the effects of COVID-19 related countermeasures implemented in public transport on individuals' travel decisions. We explore the extent to which do policy countermeasures influence different groups of people on the use of public transport. An error component latent class choice model was estimated using the data collected in the Netherlands. Results show that the restrictions policy lifted by the Dutch central government have significant effect on individuals' transportation mode choice decision during the pandemic. The related measures adopted by the public transport sector, by contrast, present different effects on different people. The older and highly educated people are more susceptible to enforcement measures, whereas young and single Dutch citizens are more accessible to non-compulsory measures. Moreover, compared with other private modes, public transport is generally identified as a riskier option, and the average willingness to travel descends. Findings of this study are helpful for the authorities in designing and promoting effective policies in the context of pandemics.


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


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