Last week’s (w/c 18th May) Mobility Index was 65.7 up from 64.7 versus the pre-Covid baseline of 100, according to data from our partner Three mobile.  So overall UK mobility is just under 66% of ‘normal’ movement and people are moving around 1% more than they did the week before…which itself was an increase of almost 14% versus the week prior.

The real insights though are where the shifts in movement are occurring. Our latest map shows the continued trend of movement occurring in the suburbs more than city-centres compared to pre-lockdown levels.  However, whilst city-centre movement is hovering around its lowest level in recent times, small increases here show some signs of normalising movement, for example, London has the lowest regional movement score of 52.6 but this is up from 48.0 two weeks prior.

We have seen the more rural areas having the most ‘normal’ movement, with North Scotland and Border areas top of our movement index. In particular, coastal towns such as Thurso and Fraserburgh, have retained more movement normality, perhaps as they are less densely populated and have more space/beauty areas for residents to explore. We are seeing similar results in other areas, for example, in the South West, greener resort towns like Ilfracombe have seen ‘normal’ movement vs. more urban areas like Exeter.

A similar trend has been seen in and around major cities too, where more green and coastal areas has resulted in increased and ‘normal’ movement in recent weeks. Whilst Liverpool centre has only just slowly started to move more from its May low (currently at 58.4 up from 56.5 two weeks ago), coastal and suburban Merseyside areas like Crosby and Roby have seen near-normal movement maintained or reached in May. The Crosby area has surged to a movement index score of over 84.5 from just over 72 two weeks ago.  Greener walking space seems to be a common factor in increased movement.

Whilst London has seen movement increase (52.6 v 48), overall, it is still regionally the lowest scoring. Again, however, the areas around London with greater greenspace have seen the most significant increases. For example, the area surrounding West Wickham has the highest movement levels in all of London which, given it is in Bromley, the London borough with the second highest percentage of green space, makes sense. Colindale, a rapidly growing area in Barnet that has recently invested £5 million into newly opened parks was the next highest scorer on the movement index in London. Conversely, London’s central and commercial areas, such as The City and West End, have seen reduced and still low levels of movement. The Covent Garden area has decreased from just over to now just under 14% of ‘normal’ levels of movement in the last week.

People’s movement is changing daily and at a micro-level but only with the right data and tools can we make sense of and point to exactly where and what is changing.

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