Physical distancing on public transport in Mumbai, India: Policy and planning implications for unlock and post-pandemic period

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, ridership - commuting, ridership - demand, planning - personal safety/crime, policy


Public transport, Demand-supply gap, Physical distancing, Post-pandemic, Flexible work arrangements, Developing country


COVID-19 outbreak affected the daily lives of people around the globe, and authorities proposed numerous interventions to make activity participation and traveling safer during the pandemic period. This study investigates the potential implication of such interventions on executing physical distancing on public transport in Mumbai, India. The study reviews the demand-supply gap of public transport during the pre-pandemic and pandemic period and evaluates the challenges in practicing physical distancing with the short-term interventions, such as lockdown guidelines at different phases and long-term interventions, such as flexible work arrangements, on public transport. The study findings indicate that physical distancing on public transport is difficult to achieve at peak hours, even with the very high travel restrictions and lockdown measures, unless flexible work arrangements are implemented. The flexible work arrangements, such as staggered working hours and work from home, can significantly reduce peak-hour demand and total excess demand without altering the supply pattern. The study can guide in constituting transport and broader policy decisions, including developing low-risk public transport for the post-pandemic period.


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


Transport Policy Home Page: