Waze reports 60% drop in miles driven globally during pandemic

Waze has released data revealing the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic is keeping drivers off roads around the world. The navigation app, which Google acquired for more than $1 billion back in 2014, is used by 130 million people globally for turn-by-turn navigation and real-time travel updates provided by other Waze users.

Now, Waze has revealed that since a mammoth international lockdown has come into effect, drivers are traveling 60% fewer miles compared to a daily average taken for a two-week period in February. While this doesn’t directly translate into less people driving (though that can certainly be inferred), it does help to highlight the impact that the lockdown is having on travel around the world.

Digging own into specific regions also shows how stricter lockdowns correlate with miles driven per day, with Italy, France, and Spain — amongst the countries worst hit by the COVID-19 outbreak — all seeing an 80%+ decrease in road miles. The U.S., meanwhile, sits at a little over the global average at 67% (as of April 10).

Above: Global percentage change in miles driven per day

It’s also worth noting that many people are clearly still using roads to travel, and while some of those journeys may be “non-essential,” millions of front-line workers still need to move around to fulfill their jobs. As such, Waze has introduced a number of new tools and features to its app, built with the COVID-19 crisis firmly in mind. This includes surfacing stop-offs that support drive-through or curbside pickup orders.

Above: Waze: Curbside pickup and drive-thru

While Waze hasn’t committed to providing an ongoing database of mobility trends around the pandemic, other technology companies have. This includes Waze’s parent company Google, which earlier this month published reports for 131 countries showing the extent to which visits to shops, parks, and workplaces had dropped as a result of stay-at-home orders.

Yesterday, Apple also released aggregated mobility data from Apple Maps, showing trends related people’s driving, walking, and public transit activities. For comparison purposes, Apple’s data shows a 45% decrease in routing request in the U.S. compared to the baseline, though this doesn’t cover entire U.S. states — including those without official lockdown orders in place.

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