Effects of COVID on mobility behavior

Credit: AdobeStock/Bernd Leitner


How do crisis situations change people's mobility and travel behavior? How can we be better prepared for such situations in the future? Does the fear of contagion in public transport also have a long-term effect on its use? How did the use of online commerce develop during the pandemic? And what are the consequences of increased remote work on mobility? These and other questions are answered on the basis of a longitudinal study accompanying the pandemic.

Procedures and Methods

The work is based on extensive primary data sets collected since the beginning of the pandemic. In a panel study, the same individuals are surveyed at different points in time to measure pandemic-related changes in behavior. To ensure that each individual online survey is representative of the population in Germany aged 18 years and older, the loss of repeat respondents is offset by the inclusion of new subjects.

In the meantime, five surveys have been conducted via the Access Panel of the survey institute Kantar GmbH:

  • in spring 2020 from 06-10.04.2020,
  • in summer 2020 from 29.06.-08.07.2020,
  • in the fall of 2020 from 25.11.-04.12.2020,
  • in spring 2021 from 28.04.-10.05.2021 and
  • in autumn 2021 from 25.11.-08.12.2021.

Contents of the survey are: transportation use before and during the crisis, mobility related to shopping, work and leisure, private and business travel, and attitudes and personal strategies for dealing with the crisis. A fifth survey is planned for fall 2021.

Focus groups round out the empirical analyses. In several group discussions, the results of the quantitative surveys could be scrutinized in greater depth and the reasons for individual behavior patterns determined. The focus of the discussions to date has been on the use of public transportation and on working remotely.


The following pages present the results of the four online surveys in German (if you need further information in English, please don't hesitate to contact us):

DLR-Befragung: Wie verändert Corona unsere Mobilität? | DLR Verkehr

Zweite DLR-Befragung: Wie verändert Corona unsere Mobilität? | DLR Verkehr

Dritte DLR-Befragung: Wie verändert Corona unsere Mobilität? | DLR Verkehr

Vierte DLR-Befragung: Wie verändert Corona unsere Mobilität? | DLR Verkehr

Fünfte DLR-Befragung: Wie verändert Corona unsere Mobilität? | DLR Verkehr

In addition, the following publications have been produced:

Kolarova, Viktoriya; Eisenmann, Christine; Nobis, Claudia; Winkler, Christian; Lenz, Barbara (2021): Analysing the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on everyday travel behaviour in Germany and potential implications for future travel patterns. In: European Transport Research Review, 13(1), S. 1-11.

Nobis, Claudia; Eisenmann, Christine (2021): Die Folgen der Corona-Pandemie für den ÖPNV – Ergebnisse einer Langzeitstudie zur Mobilität. In: DER NAHVERKEHR 1+2/2021, S. 10-15.

Eisenmann, Christine; Nobis, Claudia; Kolarova, Viktoriya; Lenz, Barbara; Winkler, Christian (2021): Transport mode use during the COVID-19 lockdown period in Germany: The car became more important, public transport lost ground. In: Transport Policy 103 (2021). S. 60–67.

Nobis, Claudia (2021): Covid-19: Veränderungen des Mobilitätsverhaltens. Earth System Knowledge Platform [eskp.de], 8. doi:10.48440/eskp.065.

Nobis, Claudia; Eisenmann, Christine; Kolarova, Viktoriya; Winkler, Christian; Lenz, Barbara (2020): Mobilität in Zeiten der Pandemie – Auswirkungen von Corona auf Einstellungen und Mobilitätsverhalten. In: Internationales Verkehrswesen (72), 3/2020, S. 94-97.

Lenz, Barbara; Nobis, Claudia; Eisenmann, Christine (2020): Wie wirkt sich die Krise auf das Mobilitätsverhalten aus? In: Informationen zur Raumentwicklung, 4/2020, S. 80-89.