Interactive Visualization - European Mobility in 2020

It goes without saying that 2020 has been characteristically marked by the Covid-19 pandemic. One of the primary tools that policy makers across the world have chosen to curb the spread of Covid-19 is to impose restriction on mobility.

For those of us in Europe, we can take a calendar view of how our time spent at home, at work, and outdoors has changed as a result of national policies. The calendar heatmap shows, for a selected nation and mobility category, the daily percent change in mobility compared to a baseline value (more information in the "Data" section). The linear calendar shows the start and end dates of the selected nation's Covid-19 response measures.

To get some insights, please make some selections!


1 - Ban on All Events
2 - Close Entertainment Venues
3 - Mask Mandatory in All Spaces
4 - Close Non-Essential Stores
5 - Close Resaurants and Cafes
6 - Limit Social Circle
7 - Stay at Home Order
8 - Teleworking
9 - Workplace Closures

Some Insights

  • Finland, Estonia, Sweden and Norway had comparatively few Covid Response Measures compared to Belgium, France, Greece and Italy; yet, all countries have relatively similar residential mobility patterns. Sweden, despite its laissez-faire Covid-19 response, shows a strong decrease in mobility in workplaces and transit stations.
  • People walked and drove less during times of Covid restrictions. Time spent in parks increases dramatically in the summer for nearly all countries, likely due to warmer weather.
  • In several countries - notably Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg, people spent more time at home on weekdays, even when stay-at-home response measures were temporarily lifted.

The Data

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Google has provided open-source Mobility Reports to "provide insights into what has changed in response to policies aimed at combating COVID-19." Starting from February 6, 2020, the data show for each day how visits and length of stay at different places change compared to a baseline. The baseline is the median value, for the corresponding day of the week, during the 5-week period Jan 3–Feb 6, 2020. The data can also be downloaded directly from the Github repository of Our World in Data.

Data on Covid-19 response measures comes from the European Center for Disease Control and can be found here, along with a Data Dictionary that explains the specifics of non-pharmaceutical response measures. The data is updated frequently - this visualization uses the June 10, 2021 version.

Please Note: Interpreting the Data

Google's Mobility data is relative to a baseline. Therefore, it's not adjusted for seasonal fluctuations that naturally occur (for instance, people spend more time in parks when the weather is warmer, pandemic or not). The Covid-19 response measures included in the linear calendar are only a select few of the response measures taken. Therefore, they do not accurately represent all nations' responses; some nations relied more heavily on partial measures and/or regional measures.

Thanks for reading!