Every day, millions of people worldwide rely on public transport networks to get around. But in times of crisis, bustling cities with high volumes of commuter traffic can come to a dramatic halt.

Today’s chart breaks down daily data from Citymapper’s Mobility Index, according to trips planned on the transport app across 41 select cities.

The results paint a unique picture of how social distancing and lockdown measures are impacting commuter and economic activity in major urban hubs.

Cities With the Biggest Drops in Activity

As the government response to the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies and people are urged to stay home, transit activity is dropping everywhere.

However, some areas are seeing more of a reduction in activity than others. Where has activity declined the most over the month?

Rank City Country 04-Mar 11-Mar 18-Mar 25-Mar Total Change (%)
#1 Vienna ?? Austria 128% 92% 9% 6% -122%
#2 Lisbon ?? Portugal 128% 108% 24% 12% -116%
#3 Istanbul ?? Turkey 117% 103% 20% 10% -107%
#4 Barcelona ?? Spain 105% 86% 6% 4% -101%
#5 Brussels ?? Belgium 107% 96% 15% 7% -100%
#6 São Paolo ?? Brazil 112% 113% 33% 12% -100%
#7 New York City ?? USA 104% 85% 17% 7% -97%
#8 Madrid ?? Spain 100% 65% 5% 4% -96%
#9 Los Angeles ?? USA 108% 81% 23% 13% -95%
#10 Melbourne ?? Australia 113% 110% 53% 20% -93%

*Note: Data measures the % of city moving compared to 100% baseline.

Overall, Vienna and Lisbon are the cities with the biggest average drop in commuter activity over the past few weeks. This decline in mobility is correlated with a spike in the proportion of COVID-19 cases in the population:

  • Austria
    March 4: 2.6 per million
    March 25: 586 per million
  • Portugal
    March 4: 0.4 per million
    March 25: 232 per million

That said, not every city is seeing a precipitous decline in activity — let’s look at those next.

Standing Still, or On Guard

Cities that saw lower decreases in commuter activity over recent weeks can generally be slotted into three categories:

  1. Cities that were already on or near shutdown (Seoul, Milan)
  2. Cities that have so far avoided major impacts from the virus (St. Petersburg)
  3. Cities that successfully mitigated spread (Singapore)

Here are the 10 cities on the list that saw the lowest changes in activity:

Rank City Country 04-Mar 11-Mar 18-Mar 25-Mar Total Change (%)
#1 Seoul ?? South Korea 48% 43% 41% 37% -11%
#2 Hong Kong ?? China (SAR) 50% 52% 48% 37% -13%
#3 Singapore ?? Singapore 90% 88% 79% 62% -28%
#4 Milan ?? Italy 43% 10% 5% 3% -40%
#5 Tokyo ?? Japan 63% 54% 42% 21% -42%
#6 St Petersburg ?? Russia 114% 114% 85% 69% -45%
#7 Moscow ?? Russia 112% 113% 75% 54% -58%
#8 Rhine-Ruhr ?? Germany 75% 72% 28% 15% -60%
#9 Stockholm ?? Sweden 97% 83% 34% 32% -65%
#10 Lyon ?? France 75% 97% 6% 4% -71%

*Note: Data measures the % of city moving compared to 100% baseline.

St. Petersburg is still seeing commuter activity at 69% of normal levels as of March 25th, as the proportion of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Russia remains low, at roughly 3.4 per million.

Milan has the lowest activity of any city at 3%, and has been in shutdown for most of the month.

Although Singapore’s total COVID-19 cases grew from 18.8 to 95.4 per million, it still has 62% commuter activity. Interestingly, Singapore is one of the few countries that has been able to properly control and manage its COVID-19 outbreak.

Biggest Weekly Declines

As the month progressed, various cities showed stark one-week declines in commuter activity based on official healthcare recommendations and growing case numbers.

After a government lockdown announced on March 9, Rome experienced the sharpest decline of -75% commuter activity in the week from March 4 to March 11. Currently, there is only 5% activity compared to usual, similar to Milan.

In the second week of March, COVID-19 cases in France jumped fourfold, from 27.3 per million to 118.4 per million people. As a result, Lyon saw a whopping -91% drop in commuter activity—going from 97% on March 11 to 6% on March 18.

Over the past week, as cases in Australia reached 95 per million, Sydney and Melbourne exhibited the highest average declines at -36% and -33% in commuter activity respectively.

Continue reading at Visual Capitalist…

Author: Iman Ghosh. Republished by permission. 

Picture by Bambizoe from Dresden, Germany. CC0.

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