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Corona Mobility: How we are moving through the pandemic

#stayhome, #socialdistancing and #flattenthecurve: The extensive measures to restrict public life are having an effect - especially on mobility behavior. But how are people actually moving differently now? Together with our friends from MOTIONTAG, we analyzed and visualized mobility data sets from Germany and Italy. 

Less is more: Germans are switching to cycling and walking

This should come as no surprise: The Germans have been moving less since the lockdown. This is also shown by our analysis of a set of mobility data from Motiontag.* Across all forms of mobility, there has been a significant decline in usage:

Fig. 1: Use of different forms of mobility in Germany, week 10 vs. week 13 (also see full-screen version)


  • Decline in all forms of mobility - people are on the move much less often
  • Sharpest decline in public transport use with less than 20% of normal operation
  • Moderate decrease in car and bicycle trips

The Germans are not only on the road less frequently, the trips are also becoming shorter overall. Only for travelling on foot and by bike, we can see a different trend:  Even though there are fewer trips overall, the trips are becoming longer time- and distance-wise.

Fig. 2: Use of different forms of mobility in Germany (number of events, duration, distance), week 6 to week 13 (also see full-screen version)


  • There are significantly fewer movements across all modes of mobility 
  • Public transport shows the greatest decline: the number of trips as well as the total trip duration and distance decrease dramatically to less than 20% of normal operation.
  • Trips by car and bicycle show the smallest decrease: they only drop to about 50% of normal frequency.
  • Especially the mean distance traveled by car is declining - especially very long trips do not seem to take place anymore.
  • Since lockdown, people walk and cycle relatively for a longer time and longer distances - even if there are fewer trips overall.

Car-sharing services suffer - especially in international comparison

Different countries, different restrictions on social life - resulting in different effects on mobility behaviour. This is shown by our analysis of international car-sharing data.** Visualizing data from Germany and Italy together on a timeline, it is clear when the countries enforced their lockdown regulations and how strict those were.

Fig. 3: Car-sharing use in Germany and Italy in March 2020 (also see full-screen version)


  • The mobility data clearly reflect the time lag between the measures to restrict public life in Italy (March 9, 2020) and Germany (March 16, 2020).
  • In Germany, car-sharing use is declining and is at about 50% of normal use.
  • In Italy, the much stricter measures are apparent: Car-sharing offers are hardly used any more; the usage figures after lockdown are only at about 15-20% of normal operation.

The much stricter measures in Italy lead to an even more drastic decline in car-sharing use than is the case in German and Austrian cities:

Fig. 4: Car-Sharing use in different European cities, week 10 vs. week 13 (also see full-screen version)


  • Across all European cities, a sharp decline in car-sharing use to below 50% of normal operation is evident.
  • Milan and Rome have seen the biggest decline - to less than 20% of normal operation. This is a reflection of the severe social restrictions enforced in Italy.
  • Within Germany and Austria, a slight north-south divide can be seen: Munich and Vienna show stronger declines in car-sharing use than Berlin.

The benefits of visualizing mobility data

Corona has significantly changed our mobility behavior - that’s obvious to everyone. So what is the benefit of analyzing and visualizing mobility data? With the help of evaluations like ours, our everyday observations can be described with concrete figures. This way, we can gain valuable insights and identify actions to be taken that will, for example, help mobility providers meet the remaining mobility demands in the best possible way. At the same time, we can monitor and even forecast the further development of our mobility behavior in the face of new legal regulations - as is the case with the imminent gradual easing of lockdown measures. 

If you are interested in details about our analyses or in the topic of data analytics in general, please contact our CEO Jens Wille via

* The results are based on measurements that the company MOTIONTAG GmbH from Potsdam makes. Using a smartphone-based tracking technology, sensor data are recorded. By means of intelligent algorithms, the means of transport and mobility patterns are automatically recognized. This technology is integrated as an SDK in various apps. MOTIONTAG has a usage agreement with the respective app providers for the data used in the above analyses.
** The car-sharing data originate from publicly accessible interfaces that were regularly requested. They contain data from various providers in several major European cities.