Case studies on COVID-19 and environment
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Coronavirus drastically changes people's travel behavior all over the world. This study aims to investigate the effect of people's adaptive travel behavior on greenhouse gas (GHG) emission in south Asian countries. We estimate the changes in GHG emission due to the COVID-19 global restrictions during the period of March-May 2020. An online questionnaire survey was conducted to explore the travel distance, the number of trips, and travel modes in pre-pandemic and during the pandemic in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The travel distances were converted to GHG emission using IPCC and UNEPA emission factors for different modes of travel. COVID-19 suddenly declined the choice of public transport, taxi, and office transport by 55.80 percent, 33.33 percent, and 55.81 percent, respectively. The choice of walking, car, and motorcycle was increased by 42.85 percent, 16.21 percent, and 9.28 percent, respectively. Avoidance of travel was increased by 229 percent. These sharp changes in the choice of travel modes are attributable to the control measures, risk perception, and adaptive behavior, e.g., remote working, online shopping, virtual teaching-learning and meetings, and stay at home. Travel length for all modes was declined including walking, rickshaw, tuktuk, taxi, private car, office/campus transport, and public transport, while the bicycling length was increased by 40.75 percent. Pandemic reduced emission by 52.34 percent, 22.84 percent, 57.28 percent, 46.05 percent, and 30.16 percent for public transport, private car, office/campus transport, taxi, and motorcycle, respectively. COVID-19 caused a notable 32.81 percent reduction in emission in the month of May 2020 in the study area. The control measures and risk perception of COVID-19 made some sustainable impressions on travel behavior expected to be continued apart from COVID-19 that would contribute to the reduction of 35 percent GHG emission by 2050 that is assigned to the transport sectors in the Paris Climate Agreement. The findings are useful in sustainable transport planning, decision, and the policymaking process to capture travel behavior in pandemics.