The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many pedestrians to cross cities off their lists.
New research shows a 36 per cent drop in the median level of pedestrian activity across Australian cities after the initial lockdowns occurred, and as much as 60 per cent in some locations.
University of Wollongong researchers from the SMART Infrastructure Facility based their study on real-time data collected from nearly 100 locations, sourcing information from counting devices that recognise mobile Wi-Fi signals.
Researchers used baseline data from a pre-COVID time to compare how pedestrian activity had changed after mandatory social distancing and quarantining policies were imposed.
SMART Infrastructure Facility Director Senior Professor Pascal Perez said using technology to gather data helps make cities smarter.
“Pedestrian activity is the pulse of a city, so when that is taken away, you start to experience a downturn in both the economy and social health of an area,” Professor Perez said.
“Pedestrian data can also underpin investment decisions, which contribute to vibrant and safe places, creating community vitality.”
“Businesses can use this information to plan their return to operating to full capacity, perhaps using the data sets to map out business hours and staff numbers for particular days,” he said.
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