ITE Journal - April 2021 - 40

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Apri l 2021

i te j o urn al

Progress in combating the pandemic should mitigate the first
two factors, but one might anticipate some residual health risk fears,
perhaps even fear of new health risks. Residual safety concerns may
favor additional demand for individual vehicles, as airlines, public
transit, and other shared use modes might be perceived as having
higher health risks.
The third factor, economic impacts of a disrupted economy, will
inevitably impede travel demand. While recovery and stimulus
appropriations may dampen the magnitude and timing of the
economic drag, multiple trillions of dollars in additional deficits
risk an extended period of slowed economic activity with travel
dampening impacts. There may be a stimulus effect and a surge
in demand for " catch-up " travel initially before more stable, true
post-COVID-19 trends emerge.
Perhaps the most significant consideration in the recovery
is the prospect that communications in lieu of travel will have
a meaningful impact on future travel demand. As noted in
factor 5, the availability of virtual and digital communications
and the exposure and experience with using them have proven
their functionality and are expected to result in continued use
after the pandemic. Most visible of these changes have been the
dramatic increase in telecommuting and use of e-commerce, but
numerous other substitutions are occurring for all trip purposes.
The prospect of more telecommuting is significant in several
respects. Commuting defines the peak travel periods, which drives
the design capacity of infrastructure and peak supply levels for
services. Commuting demand also tends to be clustered around
central business districts and other job centers. As telecommuting is most likely to occur for office workers, its impact will be
more pronounced for central business districts and other office
employment clusters. A modest 5 percent shift to work-at-home for
the overall workforce could mean a 10-20 percent change in travel
to office employment centers, where workers that are most likely
to be in a position to shift to work-at-home are concentrated. This
could produce potentially important changes in congestion levels,
transit ridership, and the geographic locations of traffic.

Surasak_Ch /Shutterstock

and shared travel diminishes based on progress in mitigating the
COVID-19 health challenges. Expectations fluctuate regularly.
Vaccine rollout, development of more effective standards of care
and protective therapeutics, and the unknown extent to which new
variants of the virus influence health risks are among the factors
that will influence the extent of recovery. Similarly, the acceptance
levels of vaccination and compliance with other safety protocols
can influence the levels of activity engagement and even the relative
acceptability of utilizing different means of travel.
The recovery scenarios are not modeled numbers or mathematically derived trends, but judgement-based recovery scenarios
informed by reviewing various industry and stakeholder perspectives of how recovery may occur. Early in the pandemic, analysts
reviewed historic weather, natural disaster, and man-made events
such as energy crises, 9-11, and hosting Olympics to garner insight
on recovery after travel disruptions. More recently, analysts have
recognized the unique nature of this pandemic. Both its duration
which enabled the adaption of behavior changes, and the ability
to substitute communications for travel, are unprecedented. What
is widely shared is a recognition that there will be an extended
recovery period and the new normal is likely to be different than the
pre-COVID-19 travel conditions.
Travel volumes will be affected by several considerations:
1.	 The cancellation or discontinuation of activities that one
would travel to such as work, sports events, school, shopping,
worship, medical visits, business meetings and conferences,
and related activities.
2.	 Individuals' decisions to forego or postpone travel for
activities that are available but where the traveler decides not
to incur the risk of exposure by participating in the activity.
3.	 Individuals' decisions to forego or postpone travel due
to the perceived risk of exposure during travel to and
from the activity.
4.	 Activities foregone due to secondary impacts of COVID-19
that affect the economy and activity levels. For example,
persons losing employment and can no longer afford going out
to dinner, shopping, or accessing other goods and services.
5.	 Travel foregone due to the COVID-19 induced availability
and awareness of virtual and digital means of carrying
out activities that previously required travel. This includes
dramatic improvements in web-portal availability
and user-friendliness and improved access to and user
knowledge of communications options.
6.	 Changes in travel mode due to changes in the competitive
attributes of the choices. For example, lessened congestion
and more available parking favor greater auto use.
Promotional discount fares may favor use of alternative
modes-conditions potentially offset by diminished
levels of service.



ITE Journal - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ITE Journal - April 2021

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ITE Journal - April 2021 - 2
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