Training & Outreach
Webinar Series: The Impacts of COVID-19 on Tele-Activities, Travel and Purchasing Behaviors
Program Overview: The COVID-19 pandemic has produced tremendous impacts on both passenger and freight transportation systems, the behavior of transportation users, and consumer purchases. Some of the most important changes have taken place in purchasing patterns, ecommerce usage, and the use of tele-activities. Among other unprecedented effects, the COVID-19 pandemic has led hundreds of millions of people across the world to:
1) Stock-up on critical supplies, or engage in so-called “panic buying,” out of fear of shortages and for other reasons, upsetting the delicate balance between the inventories of such supplies and the demand;
2) Drastically increase their use of ecommerce to access needed supplies in an environment where some traditional retail outlets were prevented from fulfilling their functions; and
3) Embrace the use of tele-activities—tele-work, tele-commuting, tele-medicine, tele-education—to degrees unthinkable in the pre-COVID-19 era.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic the transportation group at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has been collecting behavioral data to elucidate the underpinnings of these behavioral changes, quantify their extent, identify influencing factors, gain insight in-to their permanence, and help formulate effective policies to foster beneficial changes and mitigate negative ones.
A trio of webinars where preliminary findings of this ongoing research effort will be shared with the practitioner and research community at large are in this series to present the results for the first waves of data. The webinars are as follows:
Date: July 8, 2020 11:00 AM EST
Speakers: Dr. Jose Holguin-Veras and Dr. Trilce Encarnacion
Description: This webinar will provide an overview of an international survey on the so-called “panic buying” that led to the depletion of the critical supplies all over the world. Using data collected from more than twenty countries, the RPI team will quantify the extend of the problem, and identify root factors and mitigating actions.
Files from Webinar #1:
Date: July 15, 2020 11:00 AM EST
Speakers: Dr. Cara Wang and Dr. Michael Maness
Description: This webinar will provide an overview of an ongoing multi-wave survey that collected people’s travel, shopping, and tele-activities information in the U.S. before and during the pandemic, as well as their expectations for after the pandemic. The data collected from the first two waves will be analyzed to show the interaction and the changing trends of person trips and tele-activities due to COVID-19, with an emphasis on mandatory and discretionary activities.
Files from Webinar #2:
On September 16, 2015 a workshop titled “Improving Freight Systems in Metropolitan Areas: From New York City to Across the Globe” was held. The purpose of the workshop was to bring the public and private sectors and researchers together to discuss and share ideas on strategies to improve freight activity in metropolitan areas. This workshop was hosted by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) and was jointly sponsored by the VREF Center of Excellence for Sustainable Freight Systems (CoE-SUFS) and the University Transportation Research Center (UTRC).
The freight activity is a key contributor to the economy and quality of life but it is also a major source of congestion, air and noise pollution, and accidents. This workshop brought the public and private sectors and researchers together to discuss and share the ideas and strategies to improve freight systems.