Dan Rushton

Analyzing UK Covid Recovery & Mobility with Avison Young

With the pandemic leading to widespread retail slowdown and permanent work-from-home policies there has been little demand for empty spaces which has greatly impacted the commercial real estate market. With vaccines starting to become available commercial real estate is likely due for a sharp rebound with many people looking to shop, travel, train, and otherwise enjoy a space that isn’t their own home.

Avison Young is a global commercial real estate services firm, headquartered in Toronto, with more than 100 offices in 15 countries. One of their core beliefs is that commercial real estate isn’t just about the buildings and the square footage and the occupancies. At its best it’s about spaces and places that improve lives and help businesses thrive; for the employees, citizens and communities that make impact matter.

With this in mind they created the UK Cities Recovery Index, which monitors the diversity of market activity and the speed and trajectory of the recovery following the ongoing impact experienced across UK cities as a result of COVID-19.

UK Cities Recovery Index

A graphic showing UK Cities Recovery Index


The Index uses a range of high frequency indicators across sectors that reflect different aspects of city life, revealing the inter-relationship between COVID-19 mitigation policies, the response to them and the recovery of cities over time. The indices include data points for:

  • Commercial activity: Industry, business sentiment and employment
  • Hotels and leisure: Restaurant, pub, bar and other leisure activities
  • Mobility: Journeys by foot, air, train, bus and car
  • Residential: Residential property market activity
  • Retail: Footfall, shop visits and consumer confidence
  • Return to Office: Commuting patterns and levels of office occupancy

The Index features several sections with an analysis of the impact on retail, residential, and leisure before a deep dive into several cities across the UK as well as a national view including a Daily Activity Recovery Tracker (DART). The DART is a grouping of the highest frequency indicators which give an early prediction of the likely trajectory of the Index. Included in the DART is an indicator of mobility, a key area of concern for public health officials.

Local Mobility Data

In previous posts we have looked at how mobility data can be leveraged during the pandemic for use cases such as predicting the risk of overcrowding, along with the addition of such data from Apple, Safegraph, Unacast, and others within our Data Observatory.

Using data from Google Mobility Reports and our Python package CARTOframes, Avison Young visualized movement trends across local authority districts over time in the animated map below.

The map shows how mobility has been affected in the areas of the UK that have seen tighter levels of restrictions and highlights the differentiation between major cities, suburban locations, and those areas which have benefitted, at least relatively, from the changes to our everyday life - from where people go on holiday, to where they work and shop - that have been seen during the pandemic.

The creation of reports and dashboards such as these using a variety of analytical tools, Spatial Data Science techniques, and a range of modern real-time datasets allows greater insight into how we respond and recover from the pandemic. For more information on building COVID-19 dashboards with Google BigQuery our white paper can be downloaded here.

Want to learn more about COVID-19 use cases?

Check out our dedicated landing page and apply for a grant
About the author
Dan Rushton

Dan is the Content Marketing Manager at CARTO. Dan holds a Masters in Electronic Engineering with business experience in development, sales, training and marketing. Prior to joining CARTO, Dan was a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Apple.

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