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Evolutions in undirected travel (satisfaction) during the COVID-19 pandemic

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

The COVID-19 pandemic illustrated that undirected travel (UT), or trips taken for their own sake, can partly compensate for a reduction in destination-based trips due to governmental regulations. Consequently, UT (in general, but particularly during the pandemic) may be especially satisfying and therefore important to subjective well-being. However, through the course of the pandemic, changes in UT were anticipated as individuals adapted to a 'new normal'. This research - con-ducted in Flanders, Belgium - first investigates whether the characteristics of and satisfaction with UT persisted after one year into the pandemic (April 2020 to May 2021) using longitudinal panel data from two waves (n = 332). Results of paired sample t-tests indicate that UT satisfaction increased though duration of trips decreased, and results of the Sign test indicate that the fre-quency of UT generally decreased. Second, this research investigates characteristics of individuals with different UT behavior. Six profiles of UT behavior were identified based on starting or stopping UT, increasing or decreasing UT, maintaining UT frequency, or not participating in UT. Chi2 tests identified differences among profiles based on wave 1 UT frequency, most recent trip mode, socio-demographic, and household characteristics. Results indicate that participation in UT might motivate future UT, one to three UT trips per week is a maintainable frequency, UT might be important to those with smaller living spaces and those living with children or other adults, and suggest that attention should be paid to mobility equity, including how and for whom systems are planned. These findings are important to understanding the effects of long-term governmental regulations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic on travel behavior, and how investigating UT might help to challenge and reimagine traditional mobility systems post-pandemic.
Tijdschrift: Transportation research: Part F: traffic psychology and behaviour
ISSN: 1369-8478
Volume: 94
Pagina's: 99 - 113
Jaar van publicatie:2023
Trefwoorden:A1 Journal article