The last time we took a look at mobility, it was early June. The reopening of businesses throughout the state had had the effect of increasing travel patterns significantly, back toward a pre-pandemic baseline. Since then, the picture of mobility has shifted along with the resurgence of cases in our state. The previously noted increase of travel back to those early March levels has stalled out or even reversed in some sectors and areas. Our recent update to the weekly mobility dashboard shows this, as does the image below pulled from that dashboard:

  1. Visits to all industries have declined since early to mid-June
  2. For nearly half (10) of the major industries, visitation levels have now moved back to 80 percent or less of the baseline period, whereas in mid-June, only five industries showed a 20 percent or more decline from that reference period.
  3. As of early July, travel exceeds that of the pre-shutdown levels of early March in only two industries — construction and administrative services. In early June, wholesale trade, professional services, and public administration had come back to normal, but they have since dropped off below baseline.

The line graph below shows the median of the maximum travel distance in each county using data from Descartes Labs. Click here or on the picture for the full dashboard.

  1. These levels have fallen less noticeably than overall mobility — clear and pronounced declines obviously occur in weekend and holiday periods.
  2. However, the overall trend of increasing median distance late May to mid-June has slowed significantly in late June and early July.
  3. County travel amounts — during their weekday peaks — now range from about 60 to 80 percent of the baseline range; these levels compare very well to the height of the pandemic range of  35 to 60 percent of the reference level, BUT they represent a clear decline from the 70 to 90 percent range in mid-June.
  4. DeKalb County mobility, which declined the most during shelter-in-place, continues to have the least mobility increase of any county through early July but does remain at around 60 percent of pre-crisis levels.

Interpreting the dashboard

The dashboard has two elements: a line graph and a bar chart. The line graph shows daily mobility change, and the bar chart uses an index to illustrate total mobility change. The mobility change index is based on comparing the medians of the max-distance mobility of all the samples taken of travel across our region. An index value of 100 for a given date indicates that there is no measurable change in travel between the given date and the average mobility value for the pre-crisis period of February 17th to March 7th. If the index value is less than 100, it means that people have traveled less in the more recent period than they did in the pre-crisis period. For example, a value of 75 would mean that median travel distance post-COVID is 25 percent less the median of the previous period; a value of 50 indicates that only half as much travel occurred.