Driving activity averages 126% of baseline

[24 July] This week we saw another increase in driving activity according to Apple Mobility Data, with the 7-day moving average at 126% of the baseline. This positive trend reflects the wider mobility trends we would expect to see at this time of year, with more people moving around the country during school holidays and taking short breaks.

Across NI, pedestrian activity also remains on a largely positive trajectory, however with some week on week fluctuations. Footfall in parks and at beaches is at 105% of the baseline, a figure buoyed by some dry weather and an increase of 6% in the last fortnight. We have watched as footfall in grocery and pharmacy locations remains fairly static, ending this week at 86% of the norm.

The biggest growth was evident in retail and recreation locations, up 13% in the last two weeks to reach 72% of the baseline. Over the last two weeks a combination of school holidays, good weather a bank holiday and time for social distancing and safety procedures to embed has boosted footfall in cinemas, cafes and museums, as well as shops and retail parks.

Walking +12% of baseline

In Belfast, the picture is largely the same, with walking 12% above the baseline compared to driving at 11%. This is a trend which is supported by the Department for Infrastructure, which launches a multi-media public information campaign encouraging walking. The “Great Things Happen” campaign aims to encourage walking for short journeys, promoting the health and environmental benefits to leaving the car behind.

Air connectivity improves

There was a welcome announcement from Belfast City Airport yesterday (23rd July) that Aer Lingus and Stobart Air are to operate six new routes. Serving Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, East Midlands, Leeds-Bradford and Exeter, the flights will assist with economic recovery for NI, increasing connectivity for business and leisure travellers. With 14 destinations from the airport, including London City and Amsterdam, passenger levels will continue to grow as the full flight schedule is implemented.