After Insider published the most recent Geopath mobility report showing average daily miles travelled was 94% of normal a reader commented:
The Geopath mobile data is grossly misleading and is skewed to support a narrative the OOH industry so desperately wants to convey. As far as Atlanta goes we can see first hand that commuter traffic is less than half of pre-covid levels. A commute that once took over an hour from the suburbs to down town Atlanta can be done in 20 minutes. While I can’t attest to commuting in other markets my most recent billboard ride in the Tampa market had me zooming through the billboard ride in half the time it would have taken pre-covid. and some towns were literally ghost towns.
We suspected the reader was confusing commuting traffic with daily traffic. Commuting traffic may be down but daily traffic isn’t. We asked Geopath President Kym Frank to respond and here’s what she said.
You’re exactly right. Commuting traffic only makes up 15-20% of the movement in a market. Additionally, many people are commuting at different times during the day given the unusual times we are living in. And if they don’t believe Geopath due to some perceived bias, the data from the Federal Highway Administration tells a very similar story – although a few months behind Geopath. July 2020 vehicular miles driven is only down 3% versus July 2019.