Collaborative Research: RAPID: Investigating Attitudinal, Behavioral, and Resource-Use Changes During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic

Project: Research project

Project Details


Investigating Attitudinal, Behavioral, and Resource-Use Changes During and After the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced rapid, large changes in U.S. households social dynamics. Virtually overnight, a large fraction of U.S. households has transitioned from a reality of long commutes, in-person classes and business meetings, and in-store shopping to one of telecommuting, online classes and business meetings, and online shopping even for groceries. Many of these changes were happening already, but COVID-19 has pressed the fast-forward button.
After the threat of contagion is gone, to what extent will American society go back to the pre-COVID-19 way of life? Which behavioral changes will be long-lasting, and for whom? How, if at all, are the attitudes that underpinned our American lifestyle shifting in this crisis, and will these shifts be long-term? Moreover, what are the largest impacts of confinement in terms of behavior and resource use? The goal of the project is to begin to answer these questions by deploying an extensive, nationwide, and multi-wave survey focused on social dynamics, attitudes, and behavior of American households before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The initial survey is already under development and its first wave will be deployed as soon as possible. It will include retrospective questions related to attitudes and behavior before the pandemic (e.g., being risk averse, attitudes toward the economy, environment, technology), and sections about current attitudes and preferences including activity and travel behavior (e.g., scheduling, commuting and discretionary travel choices pre-, during, and post COVID-19 as well as long-distance travel), socio-demographics (e.g., employment type and status, and household composition), and social networking and social behavior. Using a combination of mail-in and online data collection (Facebook ad and emailing), we aim to collect at least 5,000 responses, disproportionately stratified across the nation, and distributed across a variety of socio-demographics (e.g., household types, urban vs. rural, income, employment status during COVID-19). Follow-up waves will be conducted at 3-4 month intervals to track the evolution of attitudes and behaviors over time.

Intellectual Merit
Attitudes and everyday behaviors are generally resistant to change, but COVID-19 has brought about significant changes in how people live, work, interact, and play today and possibly in the future. Many are being forced to travel less, interact virtually, and work remotely. Essential goods are in short supply. It is unknown whether behavioral and attitude changes might persist after the pandemic. The data collected in this research will provide new insights on how attitudes and behaviors change due to forced circumstances, and thus enable the development of new theories of behavioral adaptation and attitudinal adjustment that are badly needed to better forecast impacts of significant disruptive events. The study will examine long- and short-term impacts of the pandemic on travel behavior, residential and non-residential land use, resource consumption, and attitudes toward the economy, environment, technology, and risk.

Broader Impacts
Society is ill-prepared to handle and respond to significant disruptive events because of poor behavioral prediction capabilities. The COVID-19 pandemic is causing enormous shifts in how Americans do practically everything, and some of these structural lifestyle and economic changes may persist. Understanding how attitudes and behaviors evolve in the wake of a significant disruption will help government agencies and communities recover faster and become more resilient to the next adverse event.

RAPID Statement
Behavioral data must be collected during the pandemic so that communities can develop well-informed strategies to recover, while accounting for potential long-term shifts in American lifestyles and attitudes.

Effective start/end date5/15/204/30/21


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $56,334.00


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