tomnet briefs

Commuting in America in 2020 and Beyond:

Observations, Planning Challenges, and Implications for the American Community Survey Transportation Questions

by Steve Polzin | April 17, 2022

The Census Bureau released the 2020 American Community Survey (ACS) “Experimental Estimates” on November 30, 2021. This survey has been an important source for annual information on the state of commuting in America as it includes questions asking respondents about their usual commute mode in the prior week. The COVID pandemic has impacted the 2020 data, and perhaps more importantly, it has impacted the ACS commuting data and its role in transportation planning going forward.

This policy brief comments on both the 2020 results and the role of the ACS in supporting transportation planning going forward. Read full brief here.

The Long View: COVID-19 Impacts on Human Activity-Travel Patterns

Part 2: Will We See a Future of Less Traffic and Reduced Physical Participation in Activities — Don’t Count On It

by Ram M. Pendyala | April 20, 2020

The pictures that are being shared online and through social media are breathtaking. The fear of the coronavirus coupled with massive lockdowns in city after city and country after country have dramatically reduced the volumes of fossil fuel burning cars on roadways and the number of travelers in planes, trains, and cruises. Pictures of clean air, clear streams and lakes, and barren roadways with light or no traffic are giving some hope that a brighter, cleaner, and more sustainable future may be ahead. Because people have experienced a new and different way of life, one that is characterized by low degrees of physical movement and activity engagement outside the home (which almost always entails physical travel since we haven’t figured out teleportation yet), will we see a significant shift in lifestyles and activity-travel patterns in the future after the virus has been vanquished? Read more…

The Long View: COVID-19 Impacts on Human Activity-Travel Patterns

Part 1: Will We See a Massive Shift to Remote Working and Learning — Don’t Count On It

by Ram M. Pendyala | April 19, 2020

The coronavirus is taking a dramatic toll on human lives in more ways than one. Contributing to tens of thousands of lives lost and hundreds of thousands of people sick and hospitalized, the virus has ravaged communities and led to hundreds of millions of people worldwide being locked down in their homes with various levels of enforcement and business closures. Universities and schools have closed down and moved instruction online. Stores and service providers have closed, others have restricted their opening hours, and many have dramatically changed their operating procedures and protocols in an effort to promote social distancing. Store shelves continue to be half-empty, toilet paper remains hard to find, and a number of essential commodities are being rationed in an effort to mitigate against panic buying and hoarding. Read more…