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Mobility Patterns Before, During, and Anticipated After the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Opportunity to Nurture Bicycling

      Introduction

      The purpose of this study is to quantify the immediate and anticipated effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on local travel in the U.S.

      Methods

      A national survey of a representative sample of U.S. adults was conducted using The Harris Poll panel. The online survey was conducted from June 17 to 29, 2020. Respondents reported the frequency of travel before the pandemic, during the pandemic, and anticipated travel when normal activities resume for walking, bicycling, personal vehicle use, and public transit. Analyses were conducted in July and August 2020.

      Results

      During the pandemic, local travel significantly decreased (−10.36%, 95% CI= −16.26, −4.02) relative to prepandemic levels. Within travel modes, significant decreases were reported for public transit, personal vehicle use, and walking. There was no change in reported bicycle use during the pandemic period relative to prepandemic levels. When normal activities resume, respondents anticipated a significant increase in bicycling (24.54%, 95% CI=3.24, 50.24). Anticipated travel using personal vehicles, public transit, and walking were not significantly different from the prepandemic levels.

      Conclusions

      Unlike the other local travel modes, bicycling did not decrease during the pandemic and is anticipated to significantly increase. Investment in bicycle-safe infrastructure could sustain the anticipated increase in bicycling.
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