In response to the pressing need to investigate COVID-19’s impact on transportation, the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies secured funding to lead eight projects focusing on a range of transportation interests.
The UCLA ITS projects will tackle issues related to the impact of the coronavirus and pandemic on California’s transportation finance, the transportation needs of vulnerable populations, and the recovery trajectory for public transit. These eight research and engagement activities account for almost half of the total projects funded by the University of California Institute of Transportation Studies COVID-19 Rapid Response Research Initiative, with an additional 10 projects being led by research teams at UC Berkeley, UC Davis and UC Irvine.
In April, UC ITS announced that it would dedicate a portion of its annual research program to fast-track funding specifically studying the impact of COVID-19 on public health, the economy and transportation. Earlier this year, UC ITS directors and staff consulted with the UC ITS Board of Advisors to define the state’s pandemic-related transportation research priorities. Concurrently, the UC ITS solicited project ideas, data collection needs, and researcher qualifications from across the UC system.
Aside from transportation finance, vulnerable populations and transit, other topic areas to be studied by the UC ITS campus teams include critical goods movement, changes in travel behavior, and crisis as an opportunity for resilient, sustainable and equitable transportation.
Given the urgency of the topics, the projects will be conducted on an accelerated timeframe of three to six months.