How will COVID-19 change our world?

Virtually overnight, a large fraction of U.S. households has transitioned from a reality of long commutes to telecommuting, from in-person to online classes and business meetings, and from in-store to online shopping – even for groceries. Many of these changes were happening already, but COVID-19 has pressed the fast-forward button. After the threat of contagion is gone, to what extent will American society “go back” to our pre-COVID-19 way of life? Knowing the answer to this question is critical for making good business and policy decisions. We are conducting a national survey with the goal of gathering real data to begin to understand what the future may hold.

Recent blog posts

COVID-19’s effect on daily travel

Preliminary results indicate that COVID-19 will have lasting effects on our day-to-day travel. Transit in particular has experienced the biggest decrease in usage during the pandemic, but motorized travel is generally expected to become less popular in the long term. Meanwhile, biking and walking are expected to become increasingly prevalent as substitutes for car and transit trips.

Will COVID-19 reduce air travel in the long term?

Airplane travel has been dramatically reduced during the pandemic. We examine the flying habits of both business and personal travelers, and conclude that flying is likely to decrease for both groups (but more so for business travelers) in the long run. The ability to conduct meetings remotely and concerns about the safety of flying in an enclosed space with strangers are major contributors to this trend.

This survey is a joint project of Arizona State University and the University of Illinois Chicago with support from the National Science Foundation.