Latest Google tracking data shows drastic changes in Edinburgh's habits during lockdown

Data shows massive drop in trips to shops, offices and parks as we stay home more

By EEN Reporter
Wednesday, 8th April 2020, 2:21 pm
Edinburgh's famous Victoria Street deserted during lockdown
Edinburgh's famous Victoria Street deserted during lockdown

DRASTIC lifestyle changes in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown across the Lothians are revealed by new data from Google.

The tech giant tracked its account users who opted-in to its location history service to compare their movements before and after travel restrictions were brought in.

Statistics showed residents are heeding warnings and keeping away from shops, offices and parks while staying at home more.

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Google plotted the travel habits of Edinburgh residents

“Google prepared this report to help public health officials understand responses to social distancing guidance related to COVID-19,” researchers stated.

The report covers data for March 29 and compares it to a median reading for the five-week period from January 3 to February 6.

In Edinburgh, figures showed a massive drop-off in visits to shops with retail and recreation down 86 percent as well as bus and train terminals - with transit stations down 83 percent.

There were nearly half as many trips to chemists and grocers - down 44 percent - while use of parks was down 42 percent.

Those still going into offices and other workplaces was down more than two-thirds (67 percent).

The data showed residents are staying home instead with nearly a fifth (18 percent) more users tracked at residencies.

Across East Lothian, retail and recreation was down 81 percent while grocers and chemists by more than a third (37 percent).

Both use of transit stations and workplaces dropped by more than half - 57 percent and 56 percent, respectively.

Park visits were down more than a third (34 percent) while there was a 17 percent rise in people staying at home.

In West Lothian, retail and recreation was down nearly three-quarters (74 percent) while visits to grocers and chemists as well as parks were down nearly a third (29 percent).

Use of workplaces was down half (50 percent) and transit stations down 52 percent while the number of people staying at home was up more than a quarter (27 percent).

Researchers said the figures were calculated using the same kind of aggregated and anonymized data used to show popular times for places in Google Maps.

Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone, meanwhile, thanked the public for adhering to new lockdown regulations on social distancing.

“People recognise that it is their duty to adhere to these guidelines to protect their fellow citizens, ease the strain on the health service, and collectively save lives,” he said.