Exploring Public Perception Toward Travel and COVID-19 Preventive Measures: Insights From the Early Stages of Lockdown in India

he paper reports evidence related to peoples’ perceptions and attitude during the early stages of COVID-19 related lockdown in India in four major aspects: strategies and preventive measures, long-distance travel, essential services, and post-lockdown travel. A five-stage survey instrument was designed and circulated through various online modes to make it convenient to the respondents and also to achieve a greater geographical coverage within a short period of time. The survey responses were analyzed using statistical tools and the results are translated into potential policy recommendations which may be useful to implement effective interventions during future pandemics of similar nature. The findings highlight a high rate of awareness among the people about the COVID-19, lack of supply of protective equipment such as masks, gloves, and personal protective equipment kits during the early stage of lockdown in India. However, several heterogeneities were also observed across a few socio-economic groups which emphasize the need for targeted campaigns in a diverse country such as India. The findings also suggest the need for arranging safe and hygienic long-distance trips for a section of the society when such lockdown measures are extended for long periods. The observations related to mode choice preferences during the post-lockdown recovery period indicate a potential shift of public transport patronage to the personal modes.              Supplemental Notes:      Kinjal Bhattacharyya