Apple data shows NC Stay-at-Home is ending, whether the governor wants it to or not

Raleigh, NC – According to Apple’s COVID-19 Mobility Trends report, traffic in North Carolina has nearly returned to pre-coronavirus lock-down volume. As of Saturday, May 2, North Carolinian are driving only three percent less than the baseline date of January 13.

This may be an indication that citizens are becoming restless and increasingly unwilling to abide by the government’s stay-at-home order.

Apple released a massive anonymized dataset on April 14 on mapping requests in Apple Maps showing travel trends in 153 countries and 242 cities. Anyone can download the data and check the trends, so we did.

In Charlotte, North Carolina’s largest city, the driving trend has gone up to 89.5% of pre-coronavirus level. Walking is 96.4% and transit is at 50.8%.

In Raleigh, the trend back to normal has been a bit slower. With driving dropping to as low as 42%, as of May 2 Capital city driving is at 82% of baseline. Transit use in Raleigh is still limping along at 49.2 percent.

In Greensboro, transit is being used at only 41.7% of pre-coronavirus levels, and walking is at 78.3%. Driving is at about 93.1%.

It should be noted that these are trips that use Apple Maps. Those numbers only represent trips where someone needed a map, so actual driving behavior may differ. For example, they probably don’t include trips to your local grocery store, since you are unlikely to use the Apple Maps app for that.

Apple says it does not associate requests for directions with your Apple ID, and does not keep a record of where people have been.

Google Community Mobility Reports

About a month ago Google released a similar mobility report, based on anonymised, aggregate data they collect from smartphone apps such as Google Maps.

The Google Community Mobility Reports chart movement trends over time by geography, across different categories of places such as retail and recreation, groceries and pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential. Unlike Apple’s Mobility Trends report, Google does not update their data daily.

A portion of the Google COVID-19 Community Mobility Report for North Carolina (4.26.2020)

See the report dated 4/26 for North Carolina here.

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