• Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
  • Greek
  • English (United Kingdom)

Daily commuting in the city - The impact of COVID-19 on the mobility habits

Research study by ReSEL TUC on how the COVID-19 outbreak affected the mobility of Chania and Rethymno residents

Today, in this challenging time of COVID-19, the issue of shared mobility with public transport (such as buses), carpooling, car sharing etc. is put on a new basis, mainly taking into account the urgent needs (work, food supply, health etc.). In this context, an online survey was conducted during the period 24-31 March 2020 in the Municipalities of Rethymno and Chania, two cities of the island with an academic community (University of Crete - Technical University of Crete), rich culture and intense seasonality characteristics. The survey aimed to study the modes of transport chosen by citizens and the trends regarding shared mobility (carpooling, bus, taxi) as alternative modes of transport.

The study was conducted by the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Systems Lab of the Technical University of Crete, within the framework of the Horizon 2020 CIVITAS DESTINATIONS initiative. It recorded, in the most accurate way possible, the most important changes in the daily journeys of residents in the Municipalities of Rethymno or Chania, in the last period right before the mobility restrictions (which started on March 23rd, 2020), and specifically in the week 16-22 March.

A total of 308 citizens answered the questionnaire, with adequate representation as regards the ratio of gender and age, professional activity, and the composition of the population of each municipality. The researchers would like to thank all those who participated in the survey. Its results will be useful in the future design of sustainable mobility strategies.

The first results of the research are presented below. The scientific team of the Technical University of Crete proceeds with further analysis and modelling of the results, which will be announced internationally.

#stayhome, #staysafe


1. Effect on the volume of daily travels

The following diagrams show the reduction in travels during the 3rd week of March, as assessed by the participants in the survey, compared to the volume of their travels during the months of January and February, i.e. before the start of the coronavirus epidemic in our country.

*January-February vs 1st week of closure of shops and entertainment/cultural centres


It can be observed that the daily travel of residents in both municipalities was significantly reduced, while the residents of Rethymno stated a higher reduction in their travel.

  • 20.5% of the participants from the Municipality of Chania stated that they reduced their travels to 100%, while the corresponding percentage for the Municipality of Rethymno is 23.9%
  • 90.2% reduced their daily travels by at least 50% (88.0% for Rethymno and 90.3% for Chania)
  • 72.7% of the population reduced their travels by at least 75% (75.0% for Rethymno and 69.7% for Chania)

*January-February vs 1st week of closure of shops and entertainment/cultural centres


2. Change in the use of modes of transport

The following table shows the significant impact on the choice of modes of transport and mainly on shared mobility modes, due to the closure of shops and entertainment/cultural centres that began on March 16th. More specifically, it compares the percentage of citizens who avoided using any of the following modes of transport.

Percentage of citizens who avoided using a mode of transport
(comparison of habits between the period January - February 2020 and the week 16-22/3)

January - February

16-22 March

Change (%)

Private car (driver)




Private car (passenger)




















  • Citizens who avoided transport by car as drivers increased by 10.7%, while citizens who avoided transport by car as passengers, increased by 39.3%
  • Respectively, the impact on public transport (bus) was significant; 28.9% more citizens avoided bus, comparing to those who did not use it during the previous two months (January-February)


3. Effect on travel time

As expected, due to the reduced traffic, there was a significant reduction in the commute time of citizens who participated in the survey, in both Municipalities. 70% of the participants from Chania and 77.4% from Rethymno reached their workplace in just 15 minutes during the week 16-22 March. For the period January-February, this percentage was 59.7% and 70.3% respectively.