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Zia Wadud, Sheikh Mokhlesur Rahman, Annesha Enam
University of Leeds, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology
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Asia(AS) & Oceania (AUS)

Modelling the links between transport, air quality and COVID-19 spread using naturalistic data from Dhaka and Bangladesh

Transport clearly has a large role in spreading contagious diseases such as COVID-19. Standard response to fighting COVID-19 in most countries was to impose a lockdown – including on the transport sector – to slow down the spread. Often various such measures were taken at different times, but their relative impacts are not well quantified, especially in low-income countries. This motivates this study to assess the interactions between policy interventions, and transport, air quality and COVID-19 impacts in Bangladesh. Using aggregate time-series models relative contribution of different policies on mobility outcome and disease spread are estimated. It is observed that, policy interventions played a significant role in controlling the COVID-19 spread in Bangladesh. In most cases, the policy interventions had the desired effect on COVID-19 infection as well as changes in people’s mobility patterns, although there were a few which were not as effective. Mobility changes were also highly correlated with COVID-19 spread. There is a lag of approximately ten days between the introduction of an intervention and changes in mobility and corresponding changes in daily infections. Although the policy interventions resulted in a reduction in accidents and related fatalities, when normalised against reduced mobility, accidents and fatalities increased nationally. Air quality improved noticeably in areas with large construction and transport activities, however such improvements were not statistically significant in other areas in Dhaka. The outcomes of the project are especially useful in understanding the differential impacts of different policy measures on transport, air quality and COVID-19 spread, and can help evidencebased decision making to combat next waves of COVID-19 or similar pandemics.

The report can be found on the High Volume Transport website by clicking on this link: https://transport-links.com/download/modelling-the-links-between-transport-air-quality-and-covid-19-spread-using-naturalistic-data-from-dhaka-and-bangladesh-final-report/