UBC Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate Students Transportation Behavior : A Report on How to Promote Active Transportation in a COVID Society Islam, Afif; Yeh, Raymond; Ng, Tommy; Okamura, Tomoki


The global pandemic has drastically changed how the world conducts itself, especially as the aspect of fear has greatly influenced how people view and use transportation (Labonté-LeMoyne et al., 2020). With more and more people turning to their own individual vehicles rather than public transit, the question arises whether the same is occurring at the University of British Columbia (UBC). This study aimed to determine how the transportation modes of UBC students have changed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and whether the modes are passive or active. This study also aimed to accelerate climate action, by providing recommendations on how more individuals can partake in active transportation (AT). The target population for this study was UBC undergraduate students that were regularly commuting to the UBC Vancouver campus during the pandemic. Undergraduate students were focused in particular as they are a vulnerable group towards not getting enough exercise, even more so due to the pandemic (Bertrand et al., 2021). Data was collected through online surveys conducted on Qualtrics. Surveys consisted of a consent form and 19 questions including open-ended, close-ended, and Likert-type style questions. Survey questions regarded: pre-pandemic and present-pandemic transportation methods, bike accessibility, AT, barriers towards AT (with the emphasis on biking), public transit, and motivation factors. Participants were recruited by sharing the survey via Facebook, UBC classes, and personal contacts. All participants were recruited through online methods due to the pandemic. Participants were incentivized by having their name entered into a draw for a FitBit and 2 $25 gift cards towards the UBC bookstore/food services. The sample population involved 51 participants, where 42 completed the survey in its entirety, 5 partially completed, and 4 were deemed invalid as they did provide consent towards the survey. Key findings from this study included a decrease in public transportation usage (-42.22%) and an increase in car usage (+40%) when compared to pre-pandemic levels. In addition, it was found that the majority of UBC students were reliant on passive transportation (PT) rather than AT. Barriers towards the use of AT, with the emphasis on biking, included (in order) distance, not owning a bike, safety/health concerns, and security concerns. It was also found that students would like to engage in AT but lack the motivation to do so. Increasing the motivation of UBC students included (in order): increasing health and fitness, better bike security, group AT initiatives, and environmental campaigns. Based on these findings, recommendations were made relating to three categories: increasing group initiatives, promoting fitness campaigns, and implementing more bike-friendly public transportation. Recommendations included creating an online community where members would connect through social media platforms, encourage, and motivate one another to participate in AT as a way to commute to campus; creating health and fitness campaigns where individuals would be able to participate safely and share their experiences through social media; and increased bike security and accessibility. Other recommendations included addressing the different barriers that students may face; such as taking public transit partway and using AT for the rest. 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