COVID Future project co-leader Deborah Salon presented top-line transportation results yesterday at UCLA’s Lake Arrowhead virtual symposium: Not “Back to Normal:” Mapping a Just Transportation Recovery from COVID-19.
She reported that many workers are enjoying remote work, and over 40% expect to continue working from home at least some of the time even after the pandemic has passed – up from just 25% pre-pandemic. The ability to work from home – or “social distancing privilege”, as some have begun calling it – is highly unequal, however. Among those without a bachelor’s degree, less than 40% had the option to work remotely, compared to more than 80% of those with a bachelor’s degree.
Air travel is down, and many of our survey respondents expect to continue to travel less by air even once COVID-19 does not pose a threat. This is especially true of business travelers, who overwhelmingly reported that virtual meetings can substitute for physical travel in many instances.
Looking at daily travel choices, Salon reported that COVID Future survey respondents expect to walk and bike much more in a post-COVID world than they did before the pandemic, while driving, transit, and ridehailing will experience smaller shifts. These findings strongly suggest that cities should consider investments in nonmotorized transport infrastructure such as sidewalks, safe pedestrian crossings, bicycle infrastructure, and traffic calming. These forward-looking actions would support pandemic-era mode shifts continuing into the future.
Her presentation was part of a session titled “Changing Trends in Travel Behavior — Will They Last?” You can watch the recording at THIS LINK, which also features presentations by Giovanni Circella of UC Davis and Susan Shaheen of UC Berkeley.