UBC Undergraduate Research

An Analysis of the Evolution of Transportation Use at UBC : Impacts of COVID-19 Arrance, Brandon; Hong, Jennifer; Dong, Martin; Kuan, Matthew; Shum, Nathan


Public transportation worldwide has become a major challenge due to the continuous spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Whilst in the midst of a global pandemic, COVID-19 has changed the way we have lived and has impacted the way people have been able to travel (Shen et al., 2020). Thus, the purpose of our research project was to examine how the use of transportation among UBCV (University of British Columbia Vancouver campus) undergraduate students has changed and evolved during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, we also utilized our findings to offer recommendations on how students can engage in more active transportation (AT) rather than passive transportation (PT). PT is considered a form of movement where energy expenditure is minimal, AT generally entails walking and cycling (Rothman et al., 2021). In the study, we conducted a cross-sectional survey of undergraduate students that attend Vancouver campus. 65 UBC undergraduate students were recruited and provided consent prior to completing our survey. Students were recruited through convenience sampling which included social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, and Slack), and connection through peers. For our data analysis, we conducted a descriptive statistical analysis and qualitative analysis. Responses were collected through a Qualtrics survey consisting of 21 questions that provided us a better understanding of students' preferences with certain modes of transportation before, during, and after the pandemic. Quantitative data was collected through close-ended questions in the form of multiple-choice questions, a few Yes/No questions, and one 5-point Likert scale question. Qualitative data was also collected through the use of a few open-ended questions. about students’ perspectives of AT and reasoning for changes in transportation methods. Through the analysis of our study, we did not find significant changes in the number of participants who used bikes as their major mode of transportation between the pre pandemic era, during the pandemic, and post-pandemic era. It was found that more participants have used cars as their major mode of transportation during the pandemic compared to pre-pandemic era, and the trend is estimated to be increasing in the post-pandemic era. There was a decrease in participants who used public transportation as their major mode of transportation since the pandemic started. However, it is expected that the number would increase again after the pandemic. The majority of participants reported they did not want to bike to campus regardless of their accessibility to bikes or shared bikes. Most participants that live or will live around campus, indicated their preference of walking to campus as a method of active transportation. More directly, the majority of participants believed that health benefits gained from active transportation are important to them. Based on these findings, recommendations were made that included adding affordable housing on UBC campus as the main reason students do not use some form of AT to travel to/from campus is that they live too far from campus, developing an affordable/free bike share program, safer bike storage where members don’t not have to worry about bike theft/vandalism, increasing the frequency of buses at night for safety concerns, and lowering Upass prices. 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.”

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