COVID-19 effects on urban driving, walking, and transit usage trends: Evidence from Indian metropolitan cities

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, planning - methods


COVID-19, Google and Apple mobility data, Travel modes, Generalized linear mixed effects mode, Indian cities


The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted all walks of life, including the transportation sector. Fear of the contagion coupled with government regulations to restrict mobility altered the travel behavior of the public. This study proposes integrating freely accessible aggregate mobility datasets published by tech giants Apple and Google, which opens a broader avenue for mobility research in the light of difficult data collection circumstances. A comparative analysis of the changes in usage of different mobility modes during the national lockdown and unlock policy periods across 6 Indian cities (Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Pune) explain the spatio-temporal differences in mode usages. The study shows a preference for individual travel modes (walking and driving) over public transit. Comparisons with pre-pandemic mode shares present evidence of inertia in the choice of travel modes. Association investigations through generalized linear mixed-effects models identify income, vehicle registrations, and employment rates at the city level to significantly impact the community mobility trends. The methods and interpretations from this study benefit government, planners, and researchers to boost informed policymaking and implementation during a future emergency demanding mobility regulations in the high-density urban conglomerations.


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