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Reduction and reallocation of bus use under COVID-19: an analysis of bus card data of Gyeonggi Province, South Korea

Miyoung Bhin and Seulki Son

International Journal of Urban Sciences, 2021, vol. 25, issue 3, 416-436

Abstract: COVID-19 pandemic is escalating. People suffer from fear of the infection. Infection happens between people in ordinary occasions. People try to reduce the exposure to the public. This leads to changes of travel behaviour in daily life. It is required to expect what will happen to travel behaviour under pandemic. The paper aims to develop a method to characterize changes of travel behaviour under pandemic by examining changes of bus use frequency in response to COVID-19. To this end, the paper analyses bus use frequency at individual bus stops of Gyeonggi Province, South Korea. A set of mathematical models are established to summarize the bus use frequency distribution across bus stops and its change under COVID-19. A power-law distribution model has been adopted to develop the model. The analysis results convey social meanings. The findings are following. First, total bus use frequency of the study area has been reduced much. The frequency change primarily responded to the number of newly confirmed cases announced by the country’s disease control authority. Secondly, the bus use frequency distribution across bus stops follows a power function. The bus stops of upper 20% frequency reduced much more than those of lower 80% frequency did. Thirdly, and most importantly, even in the pandemic period, the bus use frequency increased at some bus stops. The bus stops of the lower 80% frequency mainly located in the peripheral area of the region more often observed the frequency increment than the bus stops of upper 20% frequency did. The consequence is the reallocation of bus use between central and peripheral bus stops. These results suggest important implications to the future transportation services policy under the long lasting and/or recursive pandemic.

Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1080/12265934.2021.1936137

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