Assessing the effect of COVID-19 travel and work restrictions on vehicle trips: A naturalistic driving case study
This project aims to identify the impact of the Commonwealth of Virginia government’s response to COVID-19 on travel behavior using naturalistic driving data. While the macroscopic effects of these restrictions on travel are easily observable through substantial shifts in aggregate vehicle volumes on roadways, microscopic observation of unique trips and unique drivers may yield additional useful insights. In an ongoing naturalistic driving study in Southwest Virginia that will be the basis for this investigation, approximately 40 personal vehicles were instrumented with data acquisition systems prior to the first recommendations to stay at home to reduce the rate of spread of the virus. Data collection has continued throughout the pandemic, as restrictions have continued to evolve. Analyzing this driving data over the course of the COVID-19 progression timeline (and associated restrictions on travel and work) for trip volume, trip purpose, trip duration, trip distance, destination variability, and other similar characteristics will help inform how the restrictions have impacted microscopic travel behavior. The data will also be used to provide similar insight into how travel is affected as restrictions are eased.