Data Report: Is America running out of patience?

With the number of cases topping 1 million and still counting, America has been trying to establish a firm footing in its fight against the new COVID-19 virus. Many states issued lockdown restrictions from late March as a strategic response to the virus situation in the hope to control the spread. 

As the lockdown has been in effect for more than a month, Drivemode decided to take a look at our internal data to observe if there are any meaningful changes in user behavior after the virus started spreading in the United States.

We sampled data from the top 10 states with the highest reported number of COVID-19 cases to compare how our users’ driving and connectivity-related behaviors have changed since the start of the virus breakouts. To establish the baseline or the “old normal”, we used the data from the week of 16-22 February as a reference point, then we track relative changes in those activities on a weekly basis. This allowed us to create a visualizations of the behavioral changes over-time covering the period before and during the lockdown periods as shown below:

Visualization for the changes in the amount of trips made weekly compared to the baseline during COVID-19 breakout. A) The chart at the top shows the relative difference of trips made over the weeks since the baseline. Finally,  the map C) shows the average difference in activity level for each state. B) The table in the middle shows 1.) week, 2.) state, 3.) relative difference of trips made that week compared to the baseline, 4.) difference from the week before, and the ranking (based on the amount of trip reduction of that week compared to the baseline), respectively. The horizontal bars for 3.) and 4.) shows the direction of changes, where right indicates incremental changes and left indicates a decline. Finally, the map C) shows the average difference in activity level for each state.
Notes: You can interact with this visualization and select individual states to compare their activity levels.

Our data shows that there was a surge in the number of trips across the 10 states for 3 consecutive weeks after 22nd of February, where we saw an overall relative 12.43%, 18.64%, and 18.22% increase for the week of 23rd February, 1st March, and 8th March, respectively. Looking back, the behaviour pattern that we see could be correlated with the attempts made to stock household necessities and food which have made the headlines in the media and social networks. However, the number of trips declined sharply as soon as the nation wide state of emergency was declared, bringing the number back to below the baseline on the week of 15th March. We then continued to see a steady lower activity throughout the month of April, with many states seeing their activities drop by over 40% compared to the baseline. This indicates that Americans have been very cooperative with the stay-at-home orders and have made efforts to reduce their unnecessary trips to minimum.

State2/23/20203/1/20203/8/20203/15/20203/22/20203/29/20204/5/20204/12/20204/19/20204/26/2020
California19.2122.4315.21-23.49-39.66-40.41-45.34-36.82-36.23-29.14
Connecticut34.0826.0126.91-15.70-24.66-35.43-40.36-44.62-34.53-47.09
Florida10.0925.3219.70-4.23-27.58-35.27-42.96-35.75-34.79-33.25
Illinois11.8226.9812.52-25.31-39.33-34.92-37.30-35.89-31.92-25.13
Louisiana-5.59-0.275.59-24.20-37.77-31.91-38.03-36.44-32.18-29.79
Massachusetts59.9863.4745.12-5.03-30.26-39.16-35.14-39.47-31.81-42.34
Michigan4.2511.506.00-22.13-42.25-46.63-45.50-43.75-43.50-44.38
New Jersey22.5418.5922.66-18.59-42.93-40.29-42.21-42.57-38.37-39.45
New York18.9126.4325.58-7.21-31.47-42.79-37.52-43.88-35.19-38.84
Pennsylvania19.6126.1520.25-15.55-35.51-38.51-41.01-39.44-35.80-34.49
Overall12.4318.6418.22-17.72-39.21-34.09-38.04-44.75-39.80-32.07
State5/3/20205/10/20205/17/2020
California-27.25-28.18-24.62
Connecticut-36.8-30.40-30.40
Florida-28.42-29.46-28.94
Illinois-16.91-25.87-22.06
Louisiana-12.5-26.04-0.52
Massachusetts-34.28-29.30-36.56
Michigan-40.66-31.21-28.37
New Jersey-28.90-20.34-24.84
New York-22.73-19.28-15.83
Pennsylvania-46.62-34.16-38.56
Overall-29.92-27.06-26.61

In late April, however, our data shows a pattern of small but gradual increase of activities in certain states such as California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania, thereby reducing the overall gap from the baseline as we are stepping into May.

As we hear more about movements in some states voicing support for reopening in recent weeks, this small increase could imply stress and lower patience levels of the Americans that are affected by the lockdowns.

Drivemode highly encourages our users to follow recommendations from the CDC and their respective authorities. We hope that while these data visualizations could provide useful information regarding the overall situations surrounding the COVID-19, it can also provide some comfort showing that many people are contributing to help contain the spread of the virus.

If you are interested in more in-depth information, please check our second visualization where we go deeper into the aspects of other driving activities from our weekly data collection such as relative activity level compared to its previous week and other driving and connectivity related behaviors.

Visualization for the changes in behavior made weekly compared to the baseline during COVID-19 breakout. Each page contains the data for each consecutive week after the February 16-22 baseline. A) The 4 charts at the top show relative differences of activities made in that week: 1) the rankings for each state and their relative difference of trips made for the week compared to the baseline, where 2) shows the difference from the prior week. 3) the difference for distance and speed, 4) the difference for phone calls, messages, and navigation requests made for the week compared to the baseline. B) The table in the middle shows 1.) state, 2.) the ranking (based on the amount of trip reduction of that week compared to the baseline and 3.) the week before, respectively. Finally, the map C) shows the average difference in activity level for each state for that week.
Notes: You can interact with this visualization and go through different pages to see how driving behaviors have changed over time.

Relevant dates for COVID-19 related orders for each state

StateState of emergency declaredStay at home ordered
CaliforniaMarch 4March 19
ConnecticutMarch 10March 23
FloridaMarch 1April 3
IllinoisMarch 9March 21
LouisianaMarch 11March 23
MassachusettsMarch 10March 24 (Advisory)
MichiganMarch 11March 24
New JerseyMarch 9March 21
New YorkMarch 7March 22
PennsylvaniaMarch 6April 1

References

  1. U.S. state and local government response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  2. CDC Confirms Possible Instance of Community Spread of COVID-19 in US on Feb. 26