Understanding the “New Normal:” Activity and Mobility Patterns of Low-Income and Disadvantaged Communities in the Era of Hybrid Work and High Gas Prices

Research Team: Giovanni Circella (lead), Basar Ozbilen, and Maria Carolina Lecompte

UC Campus(es): UC Davis

Problem Statement: Starting in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has had significant and long-lasting effects on the organization of work activities and travel as many workers have adopted hybrid work schedules. Essential workers and members of lower-income communities have been less able to adapt to flexible work schedules and have experienced more impacts from the pandemic. More recently, supply chain disruptions, rising costs of living in U.S. cities, and international tensions that have led to sharp changes in gas prices have put further pressure on members of low-income and disadvantaged communities, who often already have lower mobility and economic power.

Project Description: This study will expand on and complement an existing large behavioral study carried out at UC Davis on evolving activity patterns and travel choices during these times of disruption, focusing on in-depth interviews of members of low-income and disadvantaged communities. Due to the difficulty in reaching members of these communities and the limited information that can be captured on their specific circumstances from larger quantitative surveys and other data collection methods, the researchers will identify participants from previous related research to be resampled for a round of semi-structured interviews to be carried out in either English or Spanish, discussing changes in their private and work activities, availability of travel modes, and changes in living costs and gas prices, among other topics. The information gathered from these interviews together with survey data will help provide important insights on the way households in these communities are adjusting to the current disruptions and help inform planning processes and shape policy recommendations to fill equity gaps and improve mobility for all.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $50,000