The relationship between trends in COVID-19 prevalence and traffic levels in South Korea

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a COVID-19 pandemic on March 12, 2020. Several studies have indicated that densely populated urban environments and the heavy dependence on traffic could increase the potential spread of COVID-19. This study investigated the association between changes in traffic volume and the spread of COVID-19 in South Korea. This study analyzed the daily national traffic and traffic trend for 3 months from January 1, 2020. Traffic data were measured using 6307 vehicle detection system (VDS). This study analyzed the difference in traffic levels between 2019 and 2020. Non-linear regression was performed to analyze the change in traffic trend in 2020. The relationship between traffic and confirmed COVID-19 cases was analyzed using single linear regression. The mean daily nationwide level of traffic for the first 3 months of 2020 was 143 655 563 vehicles, which was 9.7% lower than the same period in 2019 (159 044 566 vehicles). All regions showed a decreasing trend in traffic in February, which shifted to an increasing trend from March. In Incheon there was a positive, but insignificant, linear relationship between increasing numbers of newly confirmed cases and increasing traffic (beta = 43 146; p = 0.056). Numbers of newly confirmed COVID-19 patients have been decreasing since March, while the traffic has been increasing. The fact that traffic is increasing indicates greater contact between people, which in turn increases the risk of further COVID-19 spread. Therefore, the government will need to devise suitable policies, such as total social distancing.


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  • Accession Number: 01765985
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jan 26 2021 3:06PM