COVID 19 PANDEMIC: IMPACTS AND FUTURE IMPLICATIONS ON PERSONAL TRAVEL BEHAVIOR IN THE STATE OF QATAR
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In December 2019, a novel and contagious coronavirus also known as Covid-19 outbroke in Wuhan, China. In response to the virus, many countries implemented strict travel restrictions and lockdowns to hold back the spread of the Covid-19. The measures to contain it have brought dramatic changes in individual lifestyles, daily activities and travel behavior. This study focuses on the impacts on individual travel behavior including work/education, shopping and out-of-home physical activities in the state of Qatar. In addition, the study also presents individuals’ expectations and preferences regarding future travel activities. The Qatar Transportation and Traffic Safety Center, QTTSC conducted a questionnaire survey investigate the impacts of Covid-19 on individuals’ travel behavior. The questionnaire survey included questions regarding individuals’ travel activities for work/education, shopping, out-of-home workouts, before and during Covid-19 and the individual preferences and expectation for changes in their daily travel-activity in the future. After removal of the incomplete entries and outliers, the analyses were done including 404 respondents residing in Qatar for whom 63% were males while 36% were females. The results showed that there were drastic drops for all the activity types. Around 73% of the respondents started work-from-home or online education. The results also revealed that more than 20% of the respondents who were traveling in a group before the Covid-19 pandemic chose to travel alone during the Covid-19 crisis. Most of them were traveling with family before the Covid-19 outbreak. The results for individual expectations and preference revealed that high educated respondents will prefer to continue work-from-home or bulk shopping. Young and/or Western people prefer to rely more on online shopping. The findings from this study could be very useful for policymakers and other relevant authorities to construct flexible work/education/business policies. This could help them to effectively respond to any future outbreaks and to smartly utilize the available resources of the transport system during post-pandemic and new-normal times.