Mobility study shows people stay in one location for 20 hours per day

Tallinn's Old Town during the emergency situation.
Tallinn's Old Town during the emergency situation. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Statistics Estonia's mobility analysis has revealed that since the emergency situation and movement restrictions were implemented, people living in Estonia stay in their main location for an average of 20 hours per day.

The distance covered in one day, as well as the number of trips, has decreased. The revised analysis shows that the share of people staying in their main location has increased by 16 percent, which means that an estimated 200,000 more people have stayed local.

Director General Mart Mägi said Statistics Estonia analysed, by order of the crisis commission, whether people have stayed more local after the declaration of the emergency situation.

"The mobility analysis showed that people stay 20 hours per day on average in their main location, their distance covered in one day has decreased from 27.5 kilometres to 17.6 kilometres, and their number of trips in one day away from the main location has decreased from 1.8 to 1.5," said Mägi.

"New movement restrictions in public places were set at the end of March. The mobility analysis revealed that compared to the first weeks of the emergency situation when movement decreased, the additional restrictions have not had a clear impact on mobility"

The mobility analysis map is available here.

Statistics Estonia is using aggregate anonymous data tables to analyze the movement of mobile phone numbers prepared and provided by telecommunications companies Elisa, Tele2 and Telia.

Each anonymous phone number has been assigned a main location and it was observed for how long the number was away from the main location. The mobile operators identified the main location of each mobile phone number.

To do this, they determined the mobile phone masts that the number was connected to the longest in a 24-hour period. Both average and maximum distance from the main location were taken into account.

The results were generalised at the level of local municipalities and, when possible, at a more detailed level: by local area (group of settlements) in rural areas and by urban regions in Tallinn and Tartu.

Real-time data of clients were not used in the analysis. It is not possible to identify or analyse movement patterns of individual people on the basis of the anonymous data.

During the emergency situation people are being asked to stay inside as much as possible, to work from home and to order groceries online. A "2x2" rules is also in place meaning people can only gather in public in groups of two and must stay two meters away from others. The rules are in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The mobility analysis was carried out in cooperation between Statistics Estonia, mobile operators, the Government Office, the Health Board, the Data Protection Inspectorate, ministries, the IT Centre of the Ministry of Finance and Positium.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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