UBC Graduate Research

Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic on UBC Employee Commuting Chen, Cici; Foo, Cexiang; Zhao, Helen


The objective of this report is to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the work commuting patterns of UBC employees and to understand the factors that influence their transportation choices. We referenced the UBC 2017 Vancouver Transportation Survey, UBC Workplace Preferences Survey and UBC Transportation Plan as well as external information and case studies from broader British Columbia and overseas. In addition, we designed a dedicated project survey to build on the existing frameworks and database and develop further understanding of the work commute preferences of UBC employees. The objective of the survey was to identify the work commuting patterns and choices of UBC employees before, during and after the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as to understand the factors which will influence their transportation choices post-pandemic. The majority of respondents indicated that they would not change their commute pattern. However, a minority indicated that they would take public transit less, while increasing the use of personal vehicles, cycling or walking. After analysing survey results, we developed a range of short-term projections, as well as mid to long-term scenarios and projections for commute patterns to UBC. In the short-term, if employees return to work for an average of 3 to 4 days a week, the total number of daily single-occupant vehicle (SOV) trips will reduce by 18% as compared to pre-pandemic, even as the proportion of SOV trips may increase from 24 to 28%. In the long-term, we project that UBC will only be able to achieve its transportation targets if flexible WFH policy reduces the total number of trips to less than 75% of pre-pandemic levels, and there is a sustained shift in travel preferences away from SOV towards transit, cycling and walking. Finally, we developed the following recommendations that may help UBC and its partners better achieve the targets in the UBC Transportation Plan in the mid to long-term, post-pandemic future. The following action steps are recommended: ● Encourage remote work policy ● Support walking and cycling ● Rebuild transit ridership ● Monitor ● Build back better Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International