News | METRANS Director and Research Assistant Present on Mobility Pattern Changes at the WRSA Virtual Conference

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METRANS Director Genevieve Giuliano and USC PhD Candidate Yougeng Lu presented a paper on the mobility impacts of COVID 19 at the 2021 Western Regional Science Association (WRSA) 60th Annual Meeting Virtual Conference on February 22. The WRSA is a multidisciplinary group of academics and professionals, including university scholars and practitioners from the government and private sector, who are interested in scientific analysis of different regions. The conference was held virtually for the first time due to COVID-19 concerns.

During the Pre-Conference for The Regional Science Academy (TRSA), Giuliano and Lu presented their work, “Understanding Mobility Change in Response to COVID-19: A Los Angeles Case Study,” that used mobile device data to compare mobility patterns before and during the different policies enacted during the pandemic and to study compliance with COVID-19 policies in Los Angeles County across income and race/ethnic groups. Results showed that the first statewide shutdown greatly reduced travel. After the first opening in May, travel gradually and consistently increased, with the renewed restrictions imposed in July having no effect. Results also showed significant differences between income and race, with low income minority households reducing their travel less, likely due to more employment in essential jobs that cannot be conducted virtually.

In addition to presenting their own work, both Giuliano and Lu also acted as discussants for the conference’s paper sessions. Giuliano took part in the discussion surrounding “Compact Urban Form in Post-COVID-19 period - Subway Ridership Variations in Seoul & New York City” by doctoral candidate Daeyoung Kwon, postgraduate student Sung Eun Sally Oh, and Associate Professor Brian H.S. Kim from Seoul National University. Lu served as discussant for the session on “Impacts of Air Pollution on Urban Housing Prices in China” by post graduate student Yifu Ou and Professor Kyung-Min Nam from the University of Hong Kong and Professor Siqi Zheng from M.I.T.