How COVID-19 Is Changing Population Mobility According to Google Reports

On 3 April, 2020, Google released a set of reports on how COVID-19 is affecting mobility worldwide. 

What is the aim of the reports?

The objective that Google pursues with these reports is to help health institutions and authorities understand and identify insights about how the population is moving in different countries as a result of the confinement procedures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Using aggregated and anonymous data from Google Maps, they are publishing relevant data on mobility issues, with the aim of supporting public health strategies to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

What does the reports show?

These reports are available for 121 countries, including the UK, and can be downloaded in PDF format. Since they are data from Google Maps and mobile devices, the type of trends in the movements of users that they detect are associated according to categories of places, such as shops, supermarkets, pharmacies or entertainment venues. The data comes not from all devices that use Google Maps, but only from those that have location history turned on.

According to this report, mobility in the UK has been reduced quite a lot:

  • 81% reduction in visits to leisure places such as restaurants, museums, shopping centers or libraries
  • 70% fewer journeys to public transport hubs (underground, bus and train stations)
  • 57% lower mobility for workplaces
  • 37% reduction in visits to public places such as beaches, natural parks, squares or urban parks

What is the value of a Community Mobility Report?

Each Community Mobility Report is broken down by location and displays the change in visits to places like grocery stores and parks. Some countries have a breakdown by regions, as is the case in the UK.

If we look at the global data, we can see how different countries are reducing mobility and observe how it differs from the directives that the authorities of each country have taken. This is incredibly valuable data that can offer tremendous insight during an unprecedented global crisis.

Google is working to add more countries, regions and languages in the coming weeks, and the reports will be updated regularly.

Want to know more about these Community Mobility Reports? Click here