COVID-19, community response, public policy, and travel patterns: A tale of Hong Kong.

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The COVID-19 outbreak has necessitated a critical review of urban transportation and its role in society against the backdrop of an exogenous shock. This article extends the transportation literature regarding community responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and what lessons can be obtained from the case of Hong Kong in 2020. Individual behavior and collective responsibility are considered crucial to ensure both personal and community wellbeing in a pandemic context. Trends in government policies, the number of infectious cases, and community mobility are examined using multiple data sources. The mobility changes that occurred during the state of emergency are revealed by a time-series analysis of variables that measure both the epidemiological severity level and government stringency. The results demonstrate a high response capability of the local government, inhabitants, and communities. Communities in Hong Kong are found to have reacted faster than the implementation of health interventions, whereas the government policies effectively reduced the number of infection cases. The ways in which community action are vital to empower flexible and adaptive community responses are also explored. The results indicate that voluntary community involvement constitutes a necessary condition to help inform and reshape future transport policy and response strategies to mitigate the pandemic.

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Authors: Ho-Yin Chan, Anthony Chen, Wei Ma, Nang-Ngai Sze, Xintao Liu