The examination of the relationship between Internet use at home, on the move and trip frequencies of public transport and private vehicle before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Jinhyun Hong, David Philip McArthur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Internet has significantly changed the way people travel. It allows people to reorganize activities in time and space. Due to its important policy implications, a body of empirical research has emerged to examine the relationship between Internet use and travel behaviour, spanning several decades. One of the less researched areas is where people use the Internet and how this relates to the use of different transport modes. Recently, this relationship might have become more complicated due to the coronavirus pandemic changing the extent to which people use the Internet and travel. Since future outbreaks are highly likely to happen, understanding the changes in this relationship during this unprecedented time is critical to make more resilient transport plans. This study utilized three-years of National Travel Survey data in the UK and statistical models to address two research question: (1) Does using the Internet at home or on the move for non-work purposes generate additional non-commute trips by car or public transport?; and (2) did this relationship changed during the COVID-19 pandemic? Our results showed that, although the total number of trips significantly reduced in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, frequent Internet users generated more trips, and the location of Internet use mattered, even during the pandemic. People who frequently used the Internet at home generated more trips by car, while those who used the Internet on the move had more public transport trips. However, people who used the Internet more often at home or on the move during the COVID-19 pandemic generated more trips in total, and more car trips for non-commuting purposes compared to those who used the Internet less frequently. Our results revealed an important role of ICTs in travel demand during the pandemic and raises potential social exclusion issues.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Urban Sciences
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Internet use
  • location of Internet use
  • social exclusion
  • travel behaviour

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