sign in subway station that reads "Please stand this far apart"

Public Transit During Covid-19: Challenges and Lessons

The Covid-19 pandemic decimated public transit service across the United States, causing significant decreases in ridership. Social equity subsequently suffered, with the riders who depend most on public transit feeling the most tangible impacts.

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Course Info

  • Duration 8 video lessons (42 Mins)
  • Published Published
  • 4.41
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Browse Course Chapters

  • Chapter Locked
    Chapter Duration 3 mins
  • Chapter Locked
    Ridership and its Importance for Transit Service
    Chapter Duration 2 mins
  • Chapter Locked
    Who Are Essential Riders?
    Chapter Duration 3 mins
  • Chapter Locked
    The Pandemic’s Impact on Essential Riders
    Chapter Duration 10 mins
  • Chapter Locked
    The Mobility Impact of Covid-19 on Other Vulnerable Groups
    Chapter Duration 8 mins
  • Chapter Locked
    Travel Behavior After the Pandemic
    Chapter Duration 3 mins
  • Chapter Locked
    Rethinking Transit Budgets: Investing for the Most Needed
    Chapter Duration 4 mins
  • Chapter Locked
    How Can Urban Planners Help?
    Chapter Duration 6 mins

What You Will Learn

  • Understand the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has posed to U.S. transit services, agencies, and users.
  • Learn about how the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated the existing social inequity among U.S. transit riders.
  • Gain insights on how urban planning decisions and transit funding processes could be adjusted to cope with the challenges that the pandemic brought. 
  • Understand key differences in the types of riders who use public transit systems in the United States.
  • Understand the importance of restructuring transit budget priorities.
  • Learn how planners can help make communities more resilient to external events like the Covid-19 pandemic.

Course Description

The Covid-19 pandemic decimated public transit service across the United States, causing significant decreases in ridership and system revenues, while leaving low-income and minority riders to deal with the worst of the consequences. The combination of higher costs and reduced transit service is an ongoing challenge that will determine the future of transportation planning in the post-pandemic future.

Despite the short-term funding relief provided by multiple federal relief bills, transit planners are rethinking everything from the routes traveled by buses to the frequency of buses and trains to the budget priorities and revenue sources for capital improvements and operations.

Learn these skills

  • Equity
  • Public Health
  • Regional Planning
  • Transportation
  • Urbanism


This course is approved for .75 AICP CM credit.

Meet Your Instructor

Qian He

Qian He

Dr. Qian He is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Maryland, College Park and holds a PhD in Urban Planning and Public Policy.

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