Semester of Graduation

Summer 2024


Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Document Type



Major disruptions (like public health crises and extreme weather events) significantly impact human mobility and travel patterns. This study investigates the social impacts of major disruptions on human mobility from the perspective of accessing destinations. This study used a large-scale dataset from SafeGraph and focused on analyzing the impacts of COVID-19 and Hurricane Ida on destination access in Louisiana. The findings of the temporal plots indicated that the impact magnitude of Hurricane Ida was much smaller than that of the COVID-19 pandemic but still resulted in hardship on destination access. During COVID-19, it was found that parishes with limited active transportation infrastructure experienced destination access restrictions, while some critical infrastructure serving lifeline needs (e.g., health care and food) were observed to have significant access pattern changes. Two modeling approaches were used (i.e., linear regression and random forest) subsequently to explore both linear and non-linear associations between community characteristics (e.g., socio-demographics and built environment) and mobility variations at the census tract level. The modeling results showed that there are common variables that are significantly associated with mobility variations in the two disruptions. However, mobility variations in COVID-19 are more likely to be linearly/non-linearly associated with built environment (e.g., bus route length/density) and socio-demographic (e.g., commuting by public transit) factors that are related to transportation infrastructure. In contrast, mobility variations during Hurricane Ida are more likely to be non-linearly associated with socio-demographic factors featuring community vulnerabilities (e.g., low-income households and renters). Overall, this study not only quantified the different impact magnitude of two disruptions on human mobility (in terms of destination access) but also statistically identified communities that are more likely to be influenced. Communities exhibiting the abovementioned features should be targeted respectively for destination access improvement during future disruptions.

Keywords: Human mobility; Destination access; Major disruptions; COVID-19; Hurricane; Community resilience



Committee Chair

Hassan, Hany


Available for download on Friday, June 20, 2025