The world is traveling less, but is it enough?


The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging everything we’ve come to hold true about our everyday lives – how we work, teach our children, exercise, take care of our elderly, or socialize with others. And according to experts, we may need to get used to this alternative way of life for some time to come.

Among the few ways currently available to fight back – our own choices about how much we move about among others will remain the single most powerful way of arresting the spread within and across communities around the world – until the vaccine is found.

Governments and health authorities around the world have been working around-the-clock to implement containment measures and prepare their health resources based on their knowledge of how the virus is spreading.

An up-to-date understanding of how human mobility patterns may be changing in affected areas is critical to deciding what restrictions to put in place and, crucially – to evaluating whether they are working.

Teralytics tools have been developed to help transportation planners and mobility providers across the world provide better, more equitable transportation options by understanding people’s mobility needs and behaviors.

Given the urgent need to understand the correlation between human mobility and the virus spread, we have made our insights free to epidemiologists, health authorities and researchers seeking to combat and arrest the spread of COVID-19.

Our team has been working to identify the most impactful insights that can help demonstrate the critical role that the adaptation of our travel behaviors plays in helping to make sure that the world starts moving freely again soon.

Over the next days and weeks, we will share some of our learnings and our various attempts to shed light on this unprecedented situation. To get us started, here are some images that demonstrate the differences in mobility behaviors in Italy and Germany in recent weeks:

Italians cut their travel in half – 51 percent between 1-15 March. The darker the color, the greater the drop in mobility.

Between 1-15th March, the population in Italy cut their travel by half – 51 percent.  Germany, being on a different trajectory, only started slowing down during this time. Between 2-16 March, the overall drop was only 8 percent, but you can also see some significant regional differences, too:

Germans cut their travel by 8 percent percent between 2-16 March.

This difference applies to the city-level view of mobility as well:

Italy: mobility drop 1-15 March


Germany: mobility drop 2-16 March

Interestingly, we see a huge drop in long-distance travel by train and airplane within both countries at this time – suggesting that, while everyday mobility in Germany was only starting to change, the Germans were already thinking twice about going away from home.

Italy: long-distance trip reduction. A 96 percent reduction in train trips and 80 percent reduction in internal flights.

Germany: long-distance trip reduction 2-16 March. A 64 percent reduction in train trips and 62 percent reduction in internal flights.

While our business on a normal day is about helping our customers deliver enjoyable, seamless journeys for all, today – we hope that our insights will help the world to stay at home.

Where our insights come from

Teralytics uses advanced machine learning to arrive at an up-to-date understanding of how people travel, using the most accurate, inclusive and current indicator of people’s mobility – mobile signal. Teralytics works solely with anonymized data, grouped to create population-level insights. We meet all national and international privacy and security standards applicable in the regions and countries we operate in.

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