The Change in Attitude towards Walking in Bangladesh due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Authors: Niaz Mahmud Zafri*, Lecturer, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh, Asif Khan, Associate Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh., Shaila Jamal, PhD Candidate, School of Earth, Environment & Society, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada, Bhuiyan Monwar Alam, Professor, Department of Geography & Planning, University of Toledo, Ohio, USA
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: Walking, COVID-19, Modal Shift, New Normal, Lockdown, Transportation
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 33
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

COVID-19 pandemic has caused huge impacts not only on health and economic sectors but also on the transportation sector both in the short and long run. Several researchers provided theoretical insights on the potential change in travel mode choice behavior for COVID-19. They assumed that personal safety concerns might reduce public transport and shared transport modes use and drive users towards private modes (e.g., car, motorcycle, cycling, walking) due to a higher chance of viral transmission in an enclosed space. Increasing travel by walking could be a positive outcome of the pandemic that policymakers need to encourage for achieving sustainable transportation goals. However, there has been limited research investigating the link between COVID-19 and walking. Based on an online questionnaire survey of 804 respondents, this study attempts to fill this void by examining the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s attitude towards walking in Bangladesh. The study reveals that people drastically reduced walking during lockdown compared to the pre-COVID-19 period. Findings also show that a substantial proportion of people are expected to increase travel by walking during the new normal situation. In contrast, only a small portion is expected to do the opposite as their travel demand would decrease, and virtual activities would rise from the pre-COVID-19 period. Additionally, a multinomial logistic regression model was estimated to identify the contributory socio-economic, travel behavior, and psychological factors behind the change in attitude towards walking in Bangladesh due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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