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Smart cities need environmental consciousness and more social responsibilities as an outcome of COVID-19 – reflections from urban road commuters

Nelvin XeChung Leow (Faculty of Business and Law, Taylor’s University - Lakeside Campus, Subang Jaya, Malaysia)
Jayaraman Krishnaswamy (School of Management and Marketing, Faculty of Business and Law, Taylor’s University – Lakeside Campus, Subang Jaya, Malaysia)


ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 27 September 2021

Issue publication date: 31 March 2022




A lesson has been learned from the pandemic experience that less damages to the environment and realizing more social responsibilities would be the direction of the post-pandemic period globally. The purpose of this study is to focus on identifying the appropriate determinants of the proposed urban travel behavior model to develop Smart Mobility in Smart Cities to protect the environment. Potential to realize Smart Cities with infrastructure development has been explored in this study if road users are keen to combat climatic change which is clear from the challenges of flattening the infection rate through the enforcement of rules and regulations by the various government.


The proposed urban travel behavior model includes sub-drivers for each of the main drivers in the theory of interpersonal behavior (TIB). These sub-drivers emphasize in forming intentions to perform the behavioral changes while driving on urban roads during COVID-19 and post-pandemic periods. A primary online survey was conducted among road commuters in the most crowded place in Malaysia, the Greater Kuala Lumpur. A total of 383 respondents who frequently drive on road during the past one year were surveyed for this study. This data analysis of this quantitative study applied a partial least squares-structural equation modeling approach to determine the significant findings and results.


The significant findings of the study reveal that environmental consciousness and timely deviation in driving during traffic congestion are positively and significantly influencing the travel behavior performance (TBP) of commuters on urban roads. On the other hand, wet conditions due to weather, narrow road infrastructure and habits of road commuters are negatively influencing TBP. Social responsibility is positively and significantly influencing TBP through the mediating effect of the intention of road commuters’ behavior.

Research limitations/implications

The current environmental concerns and societal adherence efforts in breaking the chain of the infectious COVID-19 among people can be manifested to develop Smart Cities with less air and noise pollution in the future. In this context, the present study proposes an urban travel behavior model and tests for its suitability of a greener and cleaner environment for the benefit of future generations. The limitation of the present study is that travel hazards are not included in the framework, as it is a topic of its own volume.


It is timely to implement Smart Mobility on road business models for Smart Cities as the consequences of the pandemic make us to realize the importance of environmental concerns and the social responsibilities of everyone. TIB considers four drivers, namely, attitude, subjective norm, affect and habit which induce intention to perform behavioral decisions. The novelty of the present study is the development of sub-drivers for these four drivers in the context of the urban travel behavior model.



The authors are highly thankful to the two reviewers and the editor for their valuable comments and suggestions which are useful to enhance the quality of the present article.Funding: This research was funded by Taylor’s University Flagship Research No. TUFR/2017/004/01, Budget Code: 320201-SR21-429-C31.


Leow, N.X. and Krishnaswamy, J. (2022), "Smart cities need environmental consciousness and more social responsibilities as an outcome of COVID-19 – reflections from urban road commuters", Foresight, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 276-296.



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