Evolution of Mode Use Due to COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States: Implications for the Future of Transit

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about transformative changes in human activity-travel patterns. These lifestyle changes were naturally accompanied by and associated with changes in transportation mode use and work modalities. In the United States, most transit agencies are still grappling with lower ridership levels, thus signifying the onset of a new normal for the future of transit. This report addresses this challenge using a novel panel survey data set collected for a representative sample of individuals from across the United States. The study involved the estimation of a panel multinomial probit model of mode choice to capture both socio-economic effects and period (pre-, during-, and post-COVID) effects that contribute to changes in mode choice. This work provides rich insights into the evolution of commute mode use as a result of the pandemic, with a particular focus on public transit. Through a rigorous modeling approach, this study provides a deep understanding of how transit use has evolved, how it is likely to evolve into the future, and the socio-economic and demographic characteristics that affect the evolution of (and expected future use of) public transit. Results suggest that transit patronage is likely to remain depressed by about 30 percent for the foreseeable future, in the absence of substantial changes in service configurations. This study also shows that minority groups and those living in higher density regions are more likely to exhibit transit use recovery in the post-pandemic period.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • 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:

    Pendyala, Ram

    Batur, Irfan

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

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01875574
  • 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 12:39PM