Exposure to fear: Changes in travel behavior during MERS outbreak in Seoul

Disaster management teams could learn much from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak in South Korea in 2015. The virus outbreak provoked public fear, which resulted in a mass reduction in transit use in the Seoul Metropolitan Area (SMA). Its effect differed among socioeconomic groups and geographical areas. A typical way to analyze this is to associate individual reactions to the disaster with socioeconomic characteristics. However, a more structured approach, which considers behavioral characteristics resulting from the societal position of an individual, would identify the basic reason for such associations. The study hypothesized that the degree of fixity that individuals have in their daily life may elucidate these associations. When fear is prevalent, people having the flexibility to change their lifestyle will make more changes in daily activities and travels. The study examined the influence of public fear of a pandemic disease on travel behavior and the effect of life fixity on individual response to the fear. To this end, smart card data of transit use and changes in travel behavior during the MERS period were examined. The study found that fear was powerful and influenced travel behavior differently depending on life fixity levels and regional characteristics.

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    • © Korean Society of Civil Engineers and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017.
  • Authors:
    • Kim, Chansung
    • Cheon, Seung Hoon
    • Choi, Keechoo
    • Joh, Chang-Hyeon
    • Lee, Hyuk-Jin
  • Publication Date: 2017-11


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01679226
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 27 2018 3:21PM