The movement patterns of BiSC participants before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Do you remember that during the pregnancy we asked you to carry a phone with you for a week? These phones recorded GPS data that allow us to study transportation, movement patterns, and exposure to traffic, trees and other environmental factors during the pregnancy.

From all the GPS points we have analysed, we have extracted 78 000 movement patterns. These are shown in the picture presented, in which you can see two maps of Barcelona. The one to the left represents the movements that happened before the COVID-19 pandemic, while the one to the right represents the movement patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please note that all participants’ homes are excluded from the places used to create these maps.

Before COVID-19, the movement patterns are spread out over many areas of the city. You can see some areas where movement patterns decreased during the pandemic: Plaça de Catalunya, Les Corts, and the areas around Avinguda Gaudí and Carrer Gran de Gràcia. There were still many movement patterns in El Guinardó and Esplugues de Llobregat, and they increased in Navas and Cornellà de Llobregat. This indicates a shift from visiting more public and central places to visiting places closer to home.


We will continue to analyse these data to gain a better understanding of how movement patterns, transportation, and exposure to air pollution and greenery changed during the pandemic for inhabitants in different parts of the city. These data provide a unique opportunity to study how pregnant women responded to the pandemic. Above all, we wish to express to all the volunteers our most gratitude for your willingness to take part in this research and for your invaluable contributions.


This post has been written by Karl Samuelsson, postdoctoral researcher at the BiSC Project.