Origin-Destination mapping for 30th of March, 3rd and 4th of April

Almost three weeks on, are stay-at-home orders still having the same effect on mobility? The data might surprise you

April 14th 2020 · 5 min reading

Origin-Destination Mapping

To provide insight into such unique changes in mobility from early 2020, we have created a dynamic data visualisation that shows all origin and destination of vehicles on the network. This is updated weekly.

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Are stay at home orders still working?

Almost three weeks on, are stay-at-home orders still having the same effect on mobility? The data might surprise you..

It's no secret that we've been busy comparing traffic speed and volume data since COVID mobility restrictions were implemented in Australia in late March. During the first week of social distancing, we found huge reductions in public and private traffic volumes and large increases in 85th percentile speed. Less people on the road translated to less traffic and higher speeds.

But do government stay-at-home orders still retain the same gravitas they did when they were first introduced? Well, our data suggests they might not.

We compared traffic data from the first week of April (2nd-4th) and the first and last weeks of March (5th-8th and the 26th-28th) too see how mobility had changed.

The first week of March

Across both Southbound and Northbound directions on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, 85th percentile speeds had increased as much as a massive 44%. This was consistent for AM and PM peaks. This data makes sense - vehicular volumes across both public and private modes has either decreased significantly, stayed the same, or increased slightly.

These trends continued for most of the week, with volume trending downwards and speed trending upwards for all peak times and directions for the 3rd and 4th of April.

But these neat trends of increased 85th percentile speeds and lower average volumes became less predictable when comparing the last week of March to the first week of April.

The last week of March

With social distancing still in place, we expected to see a continuation of the trend from the previous week. However, that's not the data we got.

When we compared 85th percentile speed data from the first week of April to the last week of March, we found that speeds started to decrease.

Meanwhile, vehicular volumes started to increase across both Southbound and Northbound directions, regardless of the vehicle type or peak time.

This trend only got worse moving into the afternoon of Friday the 3rd and Saturday the 4th. Instead of the consistent increases in speed and decreases in volume, the percentage increase in speeds decreased whilst percentage decreases in volume began to invert.

This trend was similar for all directions, all vehicle modes, across both morning and evening peaks:

  • Decreases in Southbound PM speeds for cars and buses
  • Increases in Southbound PM Volume for cars and buses.
  • Increases in Northbound speed and volume for both peaks, for all vehicle types
  • Visualisations for the 30th of March, 3rd and 4th of April

    Origin-Destination Mapping for New South Wales, 23rd of March 2020

    Compared to the first week of March, the traffic volumes across Sydney have decreased significantly, particularly for private vehicles.

    There were decreases in volumes for both AM and PM peak hours, in both directions of traffic.When compared to the first week of March, restricted mobility is seen by a reduction in the number of individual journeys and less activity in our visualisation

    Origin-Destination Mapping for New South Wales, 3rd of April 2020

    Origin-Destination Mapping for New South Wales, 4th of April 2020


  • 85th percentile speeds are still higher on average whilst volumes are still lower
  • However, there were less clear trends, particularly when comparing the first week of April to the last week of March. Speeds were no longer consistently higher whilst volumes were no longer consistently lower.
  • So, what's to blame? Are people becoming more comfortable breaking restrictions or are more people traveling during school holidays than they otherwise would have? More data is definitely needed to see if this trend continues
  • Compass IOT is an analytics-focused startup that aggregates transport data to help infrastructure planning teams form more informed decisions. Our software takes complex data operations and puts it in an easy-to-understand visual platform so that teams can better interpret the analytics and form actionable plans.

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