Smartphone Data Shows Caution In Americans’ Return To The Streets | WABNEWS

SAN FRANCISCO, USA – Americans first returned to parks, restaurants, and gas stations. However, in most parts of the country, people continued to drift away from bars, gyms, and religious institutions, which remain closed in many areas, according to SafeGraph’s analysis of anonymous smartphone data.

Visits to primary and secondary schools and colleges decreased by almost 80% compared to the first days of March. But grocery and specialty stores, where visits increased 17% during panic shopping in mid-March, saw yet another increase, albeit smaller, in May when restrictions on staying home began to lift.

Nationally, pedestrian traffic in bars and pubs in mid-May was 60% lower than in the first week of March, before widespread orders to stay home came into effect. However, in Alabama, bar visits rose 11% above pre-closing levels after restaurants, bars and breweries were allowed to open on May 11.


In Texas, where Governor Greg Abbott loosened restrictions on retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and shopping malls on May 1, millions of people tired of quarantine went out to eat, but a significant part of the population was cautious about going out to dine. Pedestrian traffic to restaurants decreased 20% in mid-May from levels in early March, a rebound from its biggest drop of 54%.

Meanwhile, in Washington DC, where the stay-at-home order will remain in effect until June 8, pedestrian traffic to restaurants decreased by 66%.

Park visits in mid-May increased 21% in Wisconsin, where 34 state parks and forests reopened on May 1.

            Google mobility data shows fatigue with running in the US and other countries
            The data, released online by the Alphabet Inc unit late on Thursday, compared daily traffic to commercial and recreational venues.

In Montana, where Governor Steve Bullock exempted outdoor recreation from his stay-at-home order, park visits increased 34% in April, and mid-May remained 22% higher than pre-closing levels. .

But in Arizona and Utah, where national parks such as the Grand Canyon, Arches, and Canyonlands were closed, visits to the park remained between 23% and 26% lower, respectively, than in the first week of March.

Two aspects of life remained the same across the country: Americans were consuming gasoline and children were still at home after school.

Visits to service stations increased 19% nationwide in mid-May, compared to the first week in March.

Meanwhile, most schools across the country remained closed. Pedestrian traffic to America’s elementary, middle, and high schools and colleges and universities decreased by 88% in mid-March and remained at 77% in mid-May. The slight increase could be because high schools and universities in some states, including Alabama, Texas, and California, allowed modified graduation ceremonies in mid-May.

Trends throughout the city

At the city level, the data shows how nuances in lifestyle and government policies can lead to behavior that contradicts national trends.

For example, in San Francisco, where ridesharing apps rule the streets, service station visits remained 22% below levels in the first week of March.



    New Yorkers have begun to return to the parks after weeks of confinement. Pedestrian traffic to bars began to recover in Houston and Brooklyn earlier than in the rest of the country after some places began offering take-out food in response to temporarily softened liquor laws.

In New York City, where restrictions on the number of customers allowed within many grocery stores caused long lines, foot traffic at grocery and food stores remained 44% lower than in the first week of March.

Visits to religious institutions recovered slightly in St. Louis after Missouri Governor Mike Parson allowed religious services to resume on May 4.

SafeGraph compiles anonymous location data from mobile devices and compares it to building footprints to measure traffic. Reuters compared the pedestrian traffic observed by SafeGraph from the first week of March to mid-May, adjusting for the fluctuating number of devices that SafeGraph recorded each day.

(With information from Reuters)