The drastic impact on travel patterns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) needing to track transportation trends on a month-to-month basis, due to the rapidly changing nature of the pandemic. While Kittelson works with FDOT annually to retrieve optimal data for tracking travel condition trends with the annual Source Book, this optimal data is not practical to obtain every month. A new method of retrieving this data had to be created. A main cornerstone for this project is balancing the need for frequently updated, readily available, and highly reliable data.
Kittelson created FDOT’s Current Conditions Mobility Reports each month to track travel trends over the course of the pandemic. These reports included a set of multimodal metrics covering automobile travel, freight movement, crashes, air travel, and more, that could be computed quickly and often. An example of our adaptation of its typical metrics was the use of airport operations data instead of air passenger data to identify changes in airport travel from month to month. These Current Conditions Mobility Reports also allowed Kittelson to analyze non-transportation metrics to provide context on other aspects of life impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These metrics included small businesses open and unemployment rate, and providing these metrics offered a telling narrative in conjunction with transportation metrics that may have suggested changes in travel patterns.
The COVID-19 Special Edition of the FDOT Source Book
The COVID-19 Special Edition of the FDOT Source Book includes up-to-date travel information for each month, accurately capturing the impact that the rapidly changing trends during the 2020 pandemic.
By providing consistent and frequent reporting through the Current Conditions Mobility Reports, Kittelson provided a valuable planning tool that accurately shows which parts of Florida’s transportation networks were impacted the most. The COVID-19 Special Edition of the FDOT Source Book expedited results of the Source Book to provide the public detailed visualizations and interpretations of trends in our transportation networks.