Impact of COVID-19 on Ridehailing and Other Modes of Transportation


A dramatic traffic volume reduction has been observed across the United States and worldwide since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. This event provides us with a unique opportunity to investigate the changes in ridehailing travel and its interaction with other transportation modes, such as public transit, bicycles, and E-scooters, prior and during the pandemic. Our proposed research will explore the changes in ridesharing travel during COVID-19 in terms of travel frequency, travel distances, and travel times. We will also investigate the associated changes in other modes of transportation to understand the interaction of ridesharing with other non-automobile travel modes in an integrated traffic system. The results of this proposed research will help us better understand the ridesharing industry and its correlation with other transportation modes under the impact of COVID-19. We expect the results will help policy makers in coordinating ridesharing and other traffic modes to achieve a more efficient transportation system.

Universities and Sponsoring Organizations Involved

Virginia Tech

U.S. DOT Office of the Secretary/Research

Principal Investigators

Jianhe Du,
Hesham A. Rakha,

Funding Sources and Amounts

USDOT: $70,000 (Federal), Virginia Tech: $35,000 (Match)

Start Date

Jan. 1, 2021

Expected Completion Date

Dec. 31, 2021

Expected Research Outcomes

The proposed research will investigate the impacts on the ridesharing industry by COVID-19. Other than ridesharing, travel modes such as E-scooters and shared-bikes will also be explored to identify the potential correlation of the changes in different travel modes during the pandemic. The outcomes of this proposed research will help us understand ridesharing and other travel modes during the COVID-19.

Expected Equity Impacts and Benefits of Implementation

This proposed research will identify the impact of COVID-19 on the ridesharing industry along with the multi-mode transportation system. The team will answer several key research problems and will construct a modeling framework that will help us evaluate the changes and variations in travel behavior during the pandemic. Suggestions and recommendations will be made to policy makers in making regulations to encourage a positive cooperation of ridesharing with other modes.

Subject Areas

Equity, efficiency, ride hailing