Does undirected travel compensate for reduced directed travel during lockdown?

Hannah Hook, Jonas De Vos, Veronique Van Acker, Frank Witlox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The COVID-19 pandemic lockdown undeniably impacted travel behavior. It is assumed that directed (commute and non-work) trips reduced following reduced out-of-home activities. This study analyzing 764 respondents in Flanders, Belgium, explores whether undirected trips, or travel for the purpose of travel itself, increase as compensation or to ‘get out and about’. Additionally, change in commute and non-work trip mode and frequency is analyzed to assess whether a shift from public to private transport modes and from motorized to active modes occurred. The effect of urbanization on travel behavior change was also evaluated. Results did not indicate a shift from public to private transport modes, suggesting a general decrease in directed trips, but indicated compensation for decreased car use with both undirected and active trips. The built environment was not significantly related to changes in travel behavior, suggesting that respondents participated in compensatory behavior during the lockdown regardless of residential urbanization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-420
Number of pages7
JournalTransportation Letters
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) [grant number 12676895]. The funding source had no involvement in study design, in collection analysis, and interpretation of data, in writing the report, or in the decision to submit the article for publication. The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author, [HH], upon reasonable request.


  • built environment
  • lockdown
  • Travel behavior
  • travel compensation
  • travel pattern
  • undirected travel
  • COVID-19

Cite this