Use of SafeGraph visitation patterns for the identification of essential services during COVID-19
Keywords: SafeGraph, COVID-19, mobility pattern
Abstract. Mobility was severely impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic due to travel restrictions, curfews, and closed locations, such as businesses, schools, administrative offices, and other points of interest (POIs). This study uses SafeGraph visitation data to identify which POI categories experienced a significant drop in visitation counts and distance travelled from home between March/April 2019 (pre-pandemic) and March/April 2020 (during the pandemic) in Florida and California. The analysis identified a small set of POI categories for which visitation counts and travel distance did not change significantly. They can be characterized as essential services which are needed for a community’s everyday operations. This study provides insight into the effect of COVID-19 on people’s travel behavior to different types of trip destinations during the pandemic.