An Analysis of Changes in Time Use and Activity Participation in Response to the COVID-2019 Pandemic in the United States: Implications for Well-being

This research project aims to investigate the well-being implications of changes in activity-travel and time use patterns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The study uses American Time Use Survey (ATUS) data from 2019 and 2020 to assess changes in activity-travel and time use patterns. It applies two methods – a well-being scoring method and a time poverty analysis method – to evaluate the impacts of these changes on society. The results show that individuals experienced diminished well-being during the pandemic even when their time poverty statistics showed an improvement; this is because the pandemic did not allow individuals to pursue activities in a way that would enhance well-being. In general, well-being is positively associated with the pursuit of discretionary activities in the company of others in favored out-of-home locations. This explains why people have rapidly embraced traveling again in a post-pandemic era. At the same time, people desire more discretionary time (less time poverty); because the elimination of the commute contributes to this, workers are reluctant to return fully to the workplace. Planning processes need to account for a new normal in which activity-travel patterns will be increasingly shaped by the human desire to accumulate positive life experiences.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $N/A
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Center for Teaching Old Models New Tricks (TOMNET)

    Arizona State University
    Tempe, AZ  United States  85287
  • Project Managers:

    Pendyala, Ram

  • Performing Organizations:

    Arizona State University, Tempe

    Tempe, AZ  United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Batur, Irfan

    Polzin, Steven

  • Start Date: 20220801
  • Expected Completion Date: 20230731
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01875571
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Center for Teaching Old Models New Tricks (TOMNET)
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747116
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Mar 14 2023 12:25PM