The Impact of COVID-19 and Policy Measures on Commuting in the Netherlands

Henk Taale, Marie-José Olde Kalter, Rinus Haaijer, Carlijn Damen, Maartje ter Aa

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In the Netherlands, one of the main goals of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management is to increase accessibility and, at the same time, to reduce the negative externalities created by transport, such as congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. Within the Ministry, there was a clear need for a national and integrated monitoring instrument to measure the impact of policy measures on travel behaviour. To satisfy this need, the national traveller survey was carried out in 2019 and 2020. This paper describes some of the results of the 2019 and 2020 surveys. Annual analyses include the trends in car ownership and mode choice for different purposes, with particular attention to commuting behaviour. It appears that travel time, convenience and flexibility play an important role in mode choice. Travel costs are less important and COVID-19 did not play a decisive role. In October 2019, employees travelled on average 3.8 days per week to work. In October 2020, mainly because of COVID-19, this was decreased to 2.9 travelling days. We examined the relationship between changes in car use for commuting between 2019 and 2020, and autonomous developments, changes in the level of service of different transport modes, policy measures, both by the government and employer. In addition, we investigated the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on car use for commuting. It appears that free parking or availability of parking space has the most considerable impact on car use. In addition, COVID-19 was an important reason for changes in commuting by car. Finally, we estimated the effect of these changes in car use for commuting on congestion and CO2 emissions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventEuropean Transport Conference 2021 - Online
Duration: 13 Sep 202115 Sep 2021


ConferenceEuropean Transport Conference 2021
Abbreviated titleETC2021


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