Apr 15, 2020 - Technology

Apple Maps data shows big coronavirus-driven drops in travel

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Data: Apple; Chart: Axios Visuals

Apple released data Tuesday from nations and cities worldwide that help to show the stunning reductions in travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: Stay-at-home policies and closures of schools, offices and more are among the forces driving the collapse in oil demand — so is the decline of flying, which is not directly captured here.

What they did: Apple unveiled an interactive online tool that shows the results of changes in the number of requests for directions to Apple Maps. It's one proxy for reductions in travel, and captures direction requests for walking, driving and mass transit including buses.

By the numbers: Globally, Apple says that route requests as of Monday were down 45% compared to the total on Jan. 13 in the U.S., down 46% in Germany, 70% in the U.K. and 85% in Italy.

  • Search for specific European cities — including Barcelona, Paris and Rome — and you'll see cuts in the 90% range.

The big picture: Apple said they released the data to help efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

  • "This mobility data may provide helpful insights to local governments and health authorities and may also be used as a foundation for new public policies by showing the change in volume of people driving, walking or taking public transit in their communities," the tech giant said.

Go deeper

House Democrats make their move with $500 billion transit proposal

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats unveiled a five-year, roughly $500 billion transportation proposal Wednesday aimed at bolstering mass transit and creating carbon-cutting initiatives.

Why it matters: The bill arrives as mass transit agencies are struggling with a collapse in ridership from the coronavirus pandemic, and facing a tough future as social distancing will require reduced capacity and virus-wary riders may stay away in favor of cars.

18 hours ago - Health

HHS requests data on race and ethnicity with coronavirus test results

A nurse writes a note as a team of doctors and nurses performs a procedure on a coronavirus patient in the Regional Medical Center on May 21 in San Jose, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Department of Health and Human Services moved on Thursday to require that an individual's race, ethnicity, age and sex be submitted to the agency with novel coronavirus test results.

Why it matters: Some cities and states have reported the virus is killing black people at disproportionately high rates. There are gaps in the national picture of how many people of color are affected, since the data has not been a requirement for states to collect or disclose.

Cities' budget woes worsen with increased social unrest

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Cities were already furloughing workers and considering cutting back essential services — including public safety — because of the dramatic drops in the local tax revenue that funds them. Now they're also dealing with turmoil in their streets.

Why it matters: "Unfortunately, the increasing levels of social unrest across the country reallocated efforts and scarce resources away from the former focus of getting state, regional and local economies back to some semblance of normalcy," per Tom Kozlik, head of municipal strategy and credit at HilltopSecurities.