Implications of COVID-19 on mobility behaviors in Berlin

Research aims/Analysis:

  • Investigating COVID-19-induced mobility-behavioral transformations by analyzing travel patterns of Berlin residents during a 20-month pandemic period and comparing them to the pre-pandemic situation.
  • Comparing behavioral responses to three pandemic waves (spring 2020, winter 2020/21, spring 2021).
  • Detecting possible long-term effects that may constitute a “new normal” of an entirely altered urban mobility landscape.

Time reference:

  • 01/2019 – 09/2021


  • Quantitative analysis of almost 800,000 recorded trips in Berlin. Unveiling relative behavioral changes by a comparison of a 20-month pandemic period with a pre-pandemic reference period.

Key results:

  • Public transport trip frequencies relatively decreased by ~50%
  • Traveled distances in public transport decreased by ~43%
  • The bicycle (rather than the car) is the central modal beneficiary
  • Bicycle-related trip frequencies experienced a relative long-term increase of ~53%, travel distances increased by ~117%
  • Each pandemic wave created unique response patterns, which show a gradual softening of individuals’ mobility related self-restrictions


fig_relative_change_mode_trip-1_2.width-1200 Relative change of trip frequencies of different transport modes in Berlin between January 2020 and September 2021 compared to pre-pandemic 2019.
fig_modal_splitt_trip-1 Relative change of trip distances with different transport modes in Berlin between January 2020 and September 2021 compared to pre-pandemic 2019.


Kellermann, R., Sivizaca Conde, D., Rößler, D., Kliewer, N., Dienel, H.-L., 2022. Mobility in pandemic times: Exploring changes and long-term effects of COVID-19 on urban mobility behavior. Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives 100668.

Datasets used for this analysis:

GPS mobility data for Berlin

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Robert Koch-Institut (RKI) COVID-19 Dashboard

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Oxford Stringency Index

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Change in mobility by transport mode compared to 2019

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