Friday Transportation Seminar: How COVID-19 Changed Our Cities: Evidence from a Multi-Wave National Survey

Friday, October 21, 2022, 11:30am to 12:30pm PDT
Deborah Salon, Arizona State University
Free and open to the public
ONLINE and IN-PERSON: PSU's Vanport Building (Room 269) 1810 SW 5th Ave Portland, OR 97201
PDH: 1 | AICP: 1

Friday Transportation Seminars at Portland State University have been a tradition since 2000. You can join us online or in-person at 11:30 AM. All presentations are recorded and shared on the event page afterwards.



Human behavior is notoriously difficult to change, but a disruption of the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to bring about long-term behavioral changes. During the pandemic, people were forced to experience new ways of interacting, working, learning, shopping, traveling, and eating meals. A critical question going forward is how these experiences have actually changed preferences and habits in ways that might persist. We collected a nationally-representative, 3-wave panel survey in the U.S. that aims to shed light on this question. This talk will draw from these data to describe how the pandemic did (and did not) change how we live in cities, what we still don't know, and in which areas urban planners should adjust their assumptions as we look to the future.


  • Many of the effects of COVID-19 on our lives appear to have been short-lived; many of our 2019 trip making patterns are back.
  • An important exception is the fraction of workers who telecommute; our data suggest telecommuting will be *at least* double its 2019 rate for the foreseeable future.
  • With more telecommuting, we expect that demand for three key urban services may not fully return to 2019 levels anytime soon: transit, restaurants, and office space.


Deborah Salon, Associate Professor, Arizona State University

Salon studies transportation in cities with the goal of better understanding of how these systems work, and how policies and smart investments might improve them. She is passionate about doing research that can help solve real-world problems, and a common thread in her work is to inform policies that aim to reduce global automobile dependence. Salon employs methods ranging from qualitative, interview-based research to advanced econometric analysis. She holds a PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Davis. Before joining the faculty at ASU, Salon completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Columbia University's Earth Institute and subsequently held a research appointment at UC Davis's Institute of Transportation Studies.


This 60-minute seminar is eligible for 1 hour of professional development credit for AICP (see our provider summary). We can provide an electronic attendance certificate for other types of certification maintenance.

Photo by Yoav Aziz on Unsplash

Portland State University's Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) is home to the U.S. DOT funded National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI), PORTAL, BikePed Portal and other transportation grants and programs. We produce impactful research and tools for transportation decision makers, expand the diversity and capacity of the workforce, and engage students and professionals through education and participation in research.