Google report uses location data to gauge how traffic movement has changed over lockdown
The company hopes that this information would help officials in respective countries “understand changes in essential trips that can shape recommendations on business hours or inform delivery service offerings.”
Google on Friday published the COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports for 131 countries to show how the lockdown owing to the coronavirus outbreak has affected the movement of traffic in public places.
The report uses "aggregated and anonymised data to chart movement trends over time by geography" across a range of places such as grocery and pharmacy stores, parks, workplaces and places of transit among other things. "We'll show trends over several weeks, with the most recent information representing 48-to-72 hours prior. While we display a percentage point increase or decrease in visits, we do not share the absolute number of visits," Karen DeSalvo, Chief Health Officer of Google Health wrote in a blog post.
The company uses similar data in Google Maps to show how busy certain types of places are, which in turn helps 'identify when a local business tends to be the most crowded'.
The company hopes that this information would help officials in respective countries "understand changes in essential trips that can shape recommendations on business hours or inform delivery service offerings" during the lockdown enforced in various countries across the globe in light of the virus outbreak.
"Ultimately, understanding not only whether people are travelling, but also trends in destinations, can help officials design guidance to protect public health and essential needs of communities," DeSalvo wrote in the blog post adding, "Ultimately, understanding not only whether people are travelling, but also trends in destinations, can help officials design guidance to protect public health and essential needs of communities."
As mentioned before, Google's Community Mobility Reports contain statistics for a total of 131 countries across the globe including Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Peru and Pakistan. The list also includes details about India.
As per Google's data, there has been a 77% decrease in the visits to retail and recreational places such as cafes, shopping centers, theme parks, museums, libraries, and movie theaters in India between February 16 and March 29 in India. Similarly, while there has been a 65% decline in visits to grocery and pharmacy stores, visits to parks and public beaches have reduced by 57%.
The report also highlights that the country has witnessed a 71% decrease in visits to transit stations such as subways, bus stands, and train stations and a 47% decrease in visits to workplaces. Travel to residential places, on the other hand, has increased by 22%.