Limiting mobility during COVID-19, when and to what level? An international comparative study using change point analysis

Suliman A. Gargoum, Ali S. Gargoum

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    33 Citations (Scopus)


    The year 2020 saw a rapid global spread of the highly contagious novel coronavirus COVID-19. To halt the spread of the disease, decision makers and governments across the world have been forced to limit mobility and human interaction, which led to a complete lockdown and the closure of nonessential businesses and public places in many cities and countries. Although effective in curbing the spread of the disease, such measures have had major social and economic impacts, particularly at locations where a complete lockdown was required. In such unprecedented circumstances, decision makers were faced with the dilemma of deciding on how and when to limit mobility to curb the spread of the disease, while being considerate of the significant economic impacts of enforcing such a lockdown. Limited research in this area meant that decision makers were forced to experiment different courses of action without fully understanding the consequences of those actions. To address this critical gap and to provide decision makers with more insights on how to manage mobility during a global pandemic, this paper conducts statistical change point analysis of mobility data from 10 different countries with the aims of establishing links between mobility trends, COVID-19 infections, and COVID-19 mortality rates across different countries where different policies were adopted. Among other findings, the analysis revealed that slow responders experienced significantly higher mortality rates per 100,000 people and were forced to implement stricter lockdown strategies when compared to early responders. The analysis also shows that operating at 40% level of mobility is achievable if appropriate action is taken early enough. The findings of this study are extremely valuable in helping nations better manage a, highly anticipated, second wave of COVID-19 or any other highly contagious global pandemic.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number101019
    JournalJournal of Transport and Health
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


    • Change point analysis
    • COVID-19
    • Infectious disease spread
    • Mobility trends
    • Public lockdown

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
    • Transportation
    • Pollution
    • Safety Research
    • Health Policy
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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