The Effect of Dynamic Lockdowns on Public Transport Demand in Times of COVID-19: Evidence from Smartcard Data

18 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2021

See all articles by Benjamin Gramsch

Benjamin Gramsch

Instituto Sistemas Complejos de Ingenieria (ISCI)

Angelo Guevara

University of Chile - Facultad de Ciencias Físicas y Matemáticas

Marcela Munizaga

University of Chile

Daniel Schwartz

University of Chile

Alejandro Tirachini

University of Chile

Date Written: December 15, 2020

Abstract

Governments around the globe have taken different measures to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. The city of Santiago, Chile, followed a dynamic lockdown strategy in which its municipalities were temporarily restricted depending on the degree of advance of the pandemic. We use this variation over time to study the effect of lockdowns on public transport demand, by analysing a 2019-2020 database of smartcard data of trips. These data allow us to identify public transport trips at a bus stop level,accounting for the variation of municipalities that were under lockdown in a given day. Metro and buses are analysed as individual modes and combined, allowing to estimate mode-specific factors. Using an empirical strategy that controls for timely variations, we find that dynamic lockdowns reduced public transport demand for all the public transport modes, but the average effect was larger for buses, which may be explained in part by fare evasion for this mode of transport and/or socioeconomic differences on mode usage. We also find that this effect varies over time. After the fifth week of the application of the lockdowns, its effect starts slowly vanishing, which suggests short-term effectiveness of such policy to reduce transport mobility in this case. Regarding sociodemographic effects, we find that lockdowns have a stronger impact in reducing public transport demand in municipalities with a larger proportion of elderly populationand high-income households.

Keywords: COVID-19, Lockdown, Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions, Public Transport, Smartcard

Suggested Citation

Gramsch, Benjamin and Guevara, Angelo and Munizaga, Marcela and Schwartz, Daniel and Tirachini, Alejandro, The Effect of Dynamic Lockdowns on Public Transport Demand in Times of COVID-19: Evidence from Smartcard Data (December 15, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3768561 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3768561

Benjamin Gramsch (Contact Author)

Instituto Sistemas Complejos de Ingenieria (ISCI) ( email )

Republica 695
Santiago
Santiago
Chile

Angelo Guevara

University of Chile - Facultad de Ciencias Físicas y Matemáticas ( email )

Beauchef 850
Santiago
Chile

Marcela Munizaga

University of Chile ( email )

Pío Nono Nº1, Providencia
Santiago, R. Metropolitana 7520421
Chile

Daniel Schwartz

University of Chile ( email )

Beauchef 851
Santiago, R. Metropolitana
Chile

Alejandro Tirachini

University of Chile ( email )

Pío Nono Nº1, Providencia
Santiago, R. Metropolitana 7520421
Chile

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