AbstractThe COVID-19 pandemic has caused worldwide lockdowns and similar containment measures aiming to curb the spread of the virus. Lockdown measures have been implemented in cities amid the COVID-19 outbreak. After the pandemic is under control, cities will be gradually reopened. This study aims to investigate the variations in urban travel behavior during the lockdown and reopening phases. On the basis of long-term traffic congestion index data and subway ridership data in eight typical cities of China, this study carried out comparisons on urban travel behaviors with and without the pandemic. Changes in the multimodal travel behaviors in different times of day and days of week are analyzed during the lockdown and reopening phases. Multivariate and one-way analyses of variance are conducted to show the statistical significance of the changes. This study further investigates the relationship between the returned-to-work (RTW) rate and travel behaviors in the reopening phase. A stepwise multiple regression is conducted to quantify the impacts of influencing factors (i.e., population migration index, RTW rate, socioeconomic indices, and pandemic statistical indicators) on vehicular traffic after reopening. Results show that the lockdown measure has a significant impact on reducing the traffic congestion during the peak hours on workdays, and the subway ridership dropped to below 10% of the prepandemic level during the lockdown phase. Travel demands tended to switch from subways to private vehicular travel modes during the reopening phase, leading to a rapid recovery of vehicular traffic and a slow recovery of subway ridership. The recovery of vehicular traffic is proved to be related to the RTW rate, certain city characteristics, and new COVID-19 cases after city reopening.

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