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Mobility changes after COVID-19 lockdown: a first scientific assessment of the Italian case

Italy has been the first European country where the COVID-19 epidemic has triggered an unprecedented and escalating series of restrictions on travel and individual mobility of citizens. ISI Foundation and Cuebiq joined their efforts to make a first quantitative assessment of the impact of these interventions on mobility flows, individual mobility and contact patterns, based on the analysis of smartphone apps and location-data collection software.

Led by ISI Foundation researcher Michele Tizzoni, with data coming from Cuebiq’s Data for Good Program (Cuebiq is a consumer insights company that analyzes visitation patterns based on aggregated and privacy-safe mobility data, to provide measurement, support academic research and humanitarian initiatives),  this preliminary assessment shows in near real-time the effects of public health policies in Italy in the first three weeks of intervention  (18th February / 10th March), by measuring changes in the traffic fluxes between provinces, in the average distance traveled by users and in the spatial proximity of users.

 Results show how the initial targeted mobility restrictions (Lombardy, Veneto,  and Emilia-Romagna) have led to a reduction ranging between 10% and 30%  of the traffic between Italian provinces during weeks 1 and 2. Following the national lockdown of March 9, the mobility fluxes between provinces have decreased by 50% or more, everywhere in the country. Also the number of users who did not leave their home province after March 9 has increased by an average of 50% at the national level and more than 100%  in some provinces (Lodi, Piacenza, Fermo, and Vercelli), with respect to the pre-outbreak period. Reductions have also been noticed in the distance traveled by users (a reduction of 49%) and the potential encounters between people (reduced of 8% during week 2 and almost 19%  during week 3).

Researchers say results can be helpful to modelers and policymakers worldwide,  especially now that travel and social restrictions are becoming more and more common on global scale. Published at https://covid19mm.github.io/in-progress/2020/03/13/first-report-assessment.html, the analysis is updated daily as new data becomes available.

COVID-19  outbreak response: first assessment of mobility changes in Italy following lockdown, a preliminary analysis, Emanuele Pepe, Paolo  Bajardi, Laetitia Gauvin, Filippo Privitera, Ciro Cattuto, Michele  Tizzoni. March 2020.Link