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Department of Architecture

Kaveh Jahanshahi and Ying Jin publish research on commuting travel choices

As people in England who cannot work from home are encouraged by government to find a way to go back to their jobs, the prosaic question of how people commute has suddenly assumed more importance. 

Much of what we have taken for granted in previous decades is now highly uncertain. Government has asked commuters to avoid public transport if they can, and traffic jams are already building up in some busy areas, despite the fact that more than 40% of the people are still working from home. How to negotiate the new challenges of commuting in the era of social distancing has become a common concern.

A new paper by Kaveh Jahanshahi and Ying Jin from the Department’s Martin Centre for Architectural and Urban Studies that maps the latent geography of commuting has been picked up by research and policy communities, on the diverse range of responses that will emerge in England and other mega-city regions around the world.  Their blog has just been released by Cambridge’s Bennett Institute for Public Policy (

Their method will help city regions in the UK and wider world to make better use of their travel survey data for policy recommendations.  As the COVID-19 surveillance programmes start to produce dependable data, their methods may also help disentangle impacts of spatial proximity, social connections, commuting patterns, genetics, etc, given the striking resemblance between the pre-COVID19 commuting geography and distributions of COVID19 deaths (see featured image).