Travel patterns in Sweden during the first six months of the corona pandemic


Travel decreased abruptly in Sweden as of 11 March, when WHO classified Covid-19 as a pandemic, and the Public Health Agency of Sweden and the Swedish government instituted the first restrictions on public gatherings in Sweden. There was great uncertainty about the contagion, and we were urged to socially distance, avoid “unnecessary” travel, and work from home if we could.

This is directly reflected in the National Travel Survey, which we are, for the first time, analysing before the calendar year is out (up to and including August). We are focusing on the first six months of the pandemic, i.e., March–August 2020. We also touch upon certain other data sources and studies that yield concurrent results. The analysis paints the following picture.

Reduced total travel: All data sources indicate that total travel fell a relatively severe 23% in March–April, followed by a further 12% decrease in July–August. The average decrease over the six-month period from March to August was therefore –16%.