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Traffic Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Statewide Analysis of Social Separation and Activity Restriction

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COVID-19, Coronavirus, Travel behavior, Traffic, Quarantine, Social distancing, Florida



The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in significant social and economic impacts throughout the world. In addition to the health consequences, the impacts on travel behavior have also been sudden and wide ranging. This study describes the drastic changes in human behavior using the analysis of highway volume data as a representation of personal activity and interaction. Same-day traffic volumes for 2019 and 2020 across Florida were analyzed to identify spatial and temporal changes in behavior resulting from the disease or fear of it and statewide directives to limit person-to-person interaction. Compared to similar days in 2019, overall statewide traffic volume dropped by 47.5%. Although decreases were evident across the state, there were also differences between rural and urban areas and between highways and arterials both in terms of the timing and extent. The data and analyses help to demonstrate the early impacts of the pandemic and may be useful for operational and strategic planning of recovery efforts and for dealing with future pandemics.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Natural Hazards Review, v. 21, issue 3