Understanding individual-level travel behavior changes due to COVID-19: Trip frequency, trip regularity, and trip distance

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, mode - bus, mode - car, ridership - behaviour, ridership - commuting, ridership - demand


COVID-19, Pandemic, Travel behavior, Trip frequency, Trip regularity, Trip distance


Understanding different mechanisms in trip changes depending on transportation modes due to COVID-19 pandemic is the key to providing practical insights for healthy communities. This study aimed to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on individual-level travel behavior in Daejeon Metropolitan City, South Korea. Using smart card and private vehicle records, we explored different travel behaviors exhibited while using buses and private vehicles. An individual's travel behavior was represented in trip frequency, trip regularity, and trip distance and was compared weekly for about three months, including the initial period of pandemic. A significant decrease in trip frequency during non-peak hours on weekdays and during weekends indicates that people reduced non-mandatory trips more than commuter trips. This was also verified in that, as the number of infection cases increased, trip regularity with 24-hour intervals intensified. People maintained the size of their activity boundaries but reduced their daily trip distances. The interesting point is that private vehicle usage increased for shorter trip distances while bus usage dropped regardless of the ranges of trip distances under the pandemic. The findings provide evidence of possible inequality issues in transportation during the pandemic and can help make precautionary policies for future pandemics.


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