Sep 24, 2021 • Blog

How Covid-19 is Impacting Transport Networks

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In response to Covid-19, the UK government announced that public transport can only be used for essential journeys. As a result London Tube and rail passengers numbers are down 92% and timetables have been adjusted to reflect the change in usage. We were interested to see how these timetable changes could impact accessibility into London. 

Covid-19 data modelling

For this we wanted to build a model that would compare transport coverage during and before Covid-19. This means we could visualise the impact these changes have on local communities. We believe this can be useful for providers of key services to identify any transport challenges for their employees. It can also be used by transport providers to pinpoint the worst affected areas due to reduced transit coverage. 

In this blog we've used Trafalgar Square, London as the example but it is possible to perform this analysis for any location within the UK - get in touch with us by filling out this form if you'd like to gain access to the data. It is free for anyone managing their response to Covid-19. 

Data analysis

Firstly we created a travel time shape that shows all the locations that can reach Trafalgar Square, London by 9am within 30 minutes using standard public timetables. We built the shape using the TravelTime API. It assumes that the user will leave their house at 8.30am and can reach Trafalgar Square at 9am. 

Normal 30 mins

The image above shows an example of all the locations that are within a 30 minute commute of Trafalgar Square using normal timetable data. The shape only highlights locations that people could reach door to door within this time. It assumes each traveller must leave their homes, walk to a transport stop, make the journey, exit on the other side, and make it to Trafalgar Square. 

Next we remade these shapes using the new reduced service Covid-19 timetable data. The example below shows all locations reachable within 30 minutes of Trafalgar Square if they needed to commute using the new service.

Covid 30 mins

Here's an image with both shapes together; red is for Covid timetables and blue is for the standard timetables. 

Covid & Normal 30 mins

Although it's possible to see that coverage has reduced, we wanted to create a view that would pinpoint all the locations that used to be accessible and now are not. In the image below we have eliminated any areas where the data overlaps. This helps us focus on the locations that have had their access reduced since the launch of the new timetables. 

Screenshot 2020-04-23 at 14.16.59

We then repeated this process using a 60 minute commute, this means that the traveller will depart their start location at 8am or later and arrive for 9am. Once all shapes were created we compared the two shapes, standard timetable shape and Covid timetable shape, and highlighted which locations are no longer reachable with the newly revised timetables. 

60 minutes, standard timetable: 

Normal 60 mins

60 minutes, Covid-19 adjusted timetable: 

Covid 60 mins

Here's an image with both shapes together; red is for Covid timetables and blue is for the standard timetables:

Covid & normal 60 mins

This removes the overlaps and shows all the locations that are no longer reachable with the new timetables: 

Screenshot 2020-04-23 at 14.41.40

Here's a visualisation of the areas that can no longer reach Trafalgar Square in:

  • 15 minutes (very small, light blue in the centre)
  • 30 minutes (dark blue)
  • 45 minutes (green)
  • 60 minutes (red)
Screenshot 2020-04-23 at 08.53.52

Free data for Covid-19

We know that mapping the impact of Covid-19 using location data is important for many industries. This is why we're offering our data analysis API for free to anyone that needs to do Covid-19 modelling. Fill in this form and let us know what you need our data for and we'll get back in touch with you within 24 hours. You can read more about our response to Covid-19 here

Using TravelTime data for other purposes

We have built an API that can perform journey time analysis and we also have plugins for data analytics software including QGIS, Alteryx and ArcGIS. Get in touch with us to discuss your project.  

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