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IMPACTS OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, a serie of free webinars co-organised by Rensellaer Polytechnic Institute and the CITE: # 3 on July 22.

The Center for Infrastructure, Transportation and the Environment (CITE) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) announces a series of three webinars focusing on “The Impacts of COVID-19 on Tele-Activities, Travel and Purchasing Behaviors.” These free webinars will be held weekly at 11AM EST beginning on July 8, 2020.

Program Overview

The COVID-19 pandemic has produced tremendous impacts on both passenger and freight transportation systems, the behavior of transportation users, and consumer purchases. Some of the most important changes have taken place in purchasing patterns, ecommerce usage, and the use of tele-activities. Among other unprecedented effects, the COVID-19 pandemic has led hundreds of millions of people across the world to:

  • 1) Stock-up on critical supplies, or engage in so-called “panic buying,” out of fear of shortages and for other reasons, upsetting the delicate balance between the inventories of such supplies and the demand;
    2) Drastically increase their use of ecommerce to access needed supplies in an environment where some traditional retail outlets were prevented from fulfilling their functions; and
    3) Embrace the use of tele-activities—tele-work, tele-commuting, tele-medicine, tele-education—to degrees unthinkable in the pre-COVID-19 era.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic the transportation group at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has been collecting behavioral data to elucidate the underpinnings of these behavioral changes, quantify their extent, identify influencing factors, gain insight in-to their permanence, and help formulate effective policies to foster beneficial changes and mitigate negative ones.

A trio of webinars where preliminary findings of this ongoing research effort will be shared with the practitioner and research community at large are in this series to present the results for the first waves of data. The webinars are as follows:

1 - ...On Purchasing ofcritical supplies: roots and measures to mitigate "panic buying"

  • Date: July 8, 2020 11:00 AM EST
  • Speakers: Dr. Jose Holguin-Veras and Dr. Trilce Encarnacion
  • Description: This webinar will provide an overview of an international survey on the so-called "panic buying" that led to the depletion of the critical supplies all over the world. Using data collected from more than twenty countries, the RPI team will quantify the extend of the problem, and identify root factors and mitigating actions.

2 - ...On Person-trips and tele-activities (PART 1)

  • Date: July 15, 2020 11:00 AM EST
  • Speakers: Dr. Cara Wang and Dr. Michael Maness
  • Description: This webinar will provide an overview of an ongoing multi-wave survey that collected people’s travel, shopping, and tele-activities information in the U.S. before and during the pandemic, as well as their expectations for after the pandemic. The data collected from the first two waves will be analyzed to show the interaction and the changing trends of person trips and tele-activities due to COVID-19, with an emphasis on mandatory and discretionary activities.

3 - ...On Person-trips and tele-activities (PART 2)

  • Date: July 22, 2020 11:00 AM EST
  • Speakers: Dr. Jose Holguin-Veras and Dr. Cara Wang
  • Description: As a continuation of Webinar #2, the RPI team will specifically discuss changes in shopping trips and home deliveries due to the adoption of ecommerce during COVID-19. These changes transformed people’s maintenance activities, with significant implications for both passenger and freight transportation systems. The team also plans to discuss social equity issues disclosed by the survey data.



Event: The Impacts of COVID-19 on Tele-Activities, Travel and Purchasing Behaviors


1 - Wednesday July 8, 2020, 11 AM EST ... On Purchasing ofcritical supplies: roots and measures to mitigate "panic buying"

2 - Wednesday July 15, 2020, 11 AM EST ... On Person-trips and tele-activities (PART 1)

3 - Wednesday July 22, 2020, 11 AM EST ... On Person-trips and tele-activities (PART 2)

To register now, please click here.

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