Impact of Social Media Use on Travel Behavior during COVID19 Outbreak: Evidence from New York City

Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on human mobility has now become one of the most important research questions after the nation-wide impacts of the pandemic have become prominent. Some recent studies address the effect of governmental policies or orders on issues impacted by COVID-19 including health, education, public safety, and, mobility. However, not much is known about the public concerns on social media platforms related to COVID-19 and its impact on people’s travel behaviors. This study investigates social media use and impact on traveling before and after the outbreak of the pandemic. New York City is selected as the case study site for studying the interplay between mobility trends and Twitter data. Results show that social media use is negatively correlated with mobility trends for both driving and transit use, and a significant time lag between tweets and mobility trends were found. Moreover, it is found that different influence mechanisms are resulting from user-generated content and governments/healthcare organizations' actions, both affecting people’s mode choice preferences for vehicle and transit use. This study provides insights into the impacts of COVID-19 by improving the authors' understanding of the complexities of travel behavior in the new information ecosystem due to both traditional sources of information and user-generated content. The findings of this paper can be used to support effective decision-making in response to any similar major disruptive events in the future.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 18p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01764024
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: TRBAM-21-02778
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 23 2020 11:17AM