Extent to which COVID-19 will affect future use of the train in Israel

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16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many countries have taken a variety of measures to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 infections. Among the most important of these involve using social distancing to prevent contact. Restricted social contacts have important effects on activity participation and on travel demand. The current study examined an array of less-studied factors, such as attitudes and beliefs toward train use, including risk perception of flu-type infection, alongside more traditional factors, which together affect decisions whether to continue using the train. Data was collected using an internet survey application. The study was based on two surveys that were conducted approximately seven months apart, the first completed by 237 participants and the second by 149. We developed a structural equation model to better understand the influence of various factors on decisions whether to continue to use the train. We found a correlation between perception of the risk of infection and the decision to continue train travel. Study results also demonstrate the relation between trip purpose and the decision to use public transportation. The study results highlight the importance of many attributes favorably associated with train travel, including saving time, reliability, and comfort. Therefore, in contrast to the existing situation where the railway company makes its own decisions to decrease trip frequencies and to cancel some lines, government policy makers and the railway company should maintain a strong frequency schedule and increase the number of lines in order to accommodate social distancing. In addition, we found that the most effective measures for encouraging people to keep traveling by train required mask use, preventing people with flu-like symptoms from traveling by train, and fining those who do not comply. In order to sustain the train use as a viable alternative to using private vehicles it is important to decrease the risk perception of being infected by coronavirus and other kinds of infected diseases while traveling by train. This can be addressed by creating a clean and reasonably sterile environment. These results highlight the need for serious intervention by decision-makers in order to sustain the train use as a viable alternative to using private vehicles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-224
Number of pages10
JournalTransport Policy
Volume110
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Covid-19
  • Public transportation
  • Risk perception
  • Train
  • Travel behavior

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