Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2021

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering


Civil Engineering

Committee Chair

Scott A. Parr, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Christopher D. Grant, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Hongyun Chen Ph.D.

Third Committee Member

Marwa M.H. El-Sayed


The purpose of this research was to assess, compare, and contrast the impact of COVID-19 activity restrictions on road-based transportation activity in regions of the US, Sweden, and China from January 1st to December 31st, 2020. Roadway traffic volumes were used to relate the progression of reported COVID-19 cases and government directives for social separation in three countries with diverse governmental responses.

Among the contributions of this paper was the illustration of the timeline and level of public responses to closures, lockdowns, and reopening as represented through rapid traffic decreases and increases. Traffic was greatly impacted, showing that the pandemic influenced activity and travel. A Monday-Monday traffic trend show that more normal traffic levels occurred on weekdays and largest decreases on weekends. Urban roads showed a more rapid response to directives than rural roads. At the study period end, only China and Florida returned to pre-pandemic traffic levels, only China reported zero COVID-19 cases. Sweden experienced a similar COVID-19 curve as the US and had fewer cases-per-million than most states. The findings indicate that rapid traffic decrease was associated with delaying initial COVID-19 peak and a longer time to return to normal traffic, likely delayed the second peak.

This research provides insights for practitioners, researchers, and government entities developing and accessing plans for future pandemics. It is also expected that the findings of this study can be built upon by future researchers who continue to study various aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic and assess the public response to governmental actions.

Thesis_Submission_Form_2021_Kristiansson.pdf (164 kB)
Submission Form

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Signature Page