Commute Travel Changes and their Duration in Hurricane Sandy's Aftermath

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Virginia Tech


Hurricane Sandy struck the New York City-New Jersey region on October 29, 2012, with severe consequences to the transportation network, including both the road network and the transit system. This study used survey data from nearly 400 commuters in the New York City Metropolitan Area to determine the transportation disruptions and socio-demographic characteristics associated with travel changes and their duration for the home-to-work commute after Hurricane Sandy. Multi-variable binary logit modeling was used to examine mode shifting, cancelling the trip to work, route changing, and modifying departure time. Transit commuters were more likely to change modes, cancel the trip, and depart earlier. Women were less likely to change modes or depart later. Carpool restrictions encouraged mode changing and earlier departures. Delays/crowding increased the probability of route changes, canceled trips, and earlier departures. Durations of commute travel changes were modeled with accelerated failure time approaches (Weibull distribution). New Jersey Transit disruptions prolonged the time to return to the normal working schedule, telecommuting time, and the time of commuting patterns alterations. Gasoline purchase restrictions extended commuting delays and the duration of alteration of normal commute patterns but decreased the duration of the change of working schedule and location. The mode used under normal commute conditions did not have an impact on the duration of the changes, even though it has a significant impact on the selected changes. The results underline the need for policy makers to account for mode-specific populations and lower income commuters during post-disaster recovery periods.



Hurricane Sandy, commute travel changes, adaptation