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What lifts can teach usabout the pandemicand the futureof our citiesScroll downNEXT-LEVELCITIES
For the past year and a half, most of us have been grounded.
Lockdowns have meant that most of us travelled less and stayed at home more.
Citymapper Mobility Index
(10th March 2020-14th April 2020)
London
100
0
Paris
100
0
New York
100
0
Sydney
100
0
Tokyo
100
0
Seoul
100
0
However, we did at least move - even if we stayed at ground level.
We took to the streets in unprecedented numbers, as more of us explored our local areas.
For example, in the UK, the number of people visiting parks soared.
During the summer of 2020, almost twice as many Brits than normal went to the park.
+100% increase in park visits
Source: Google – COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports via ONS compared to a normal year
Cycling also became more popular.
Pop-up bike lanes led to an average 50% increase in cycling in European cities.
Three months after pop-up bike lanes were installed:
+50% increase in cycling
Source: https://www.pnas.org/content/118/15/e2024399118
So we never stopped moving entirely. However, what did stop was vertical movement.
Flights across the world were cut or cancelled.
76% fall
in international flights in 2020
Source: IATA
And, more interestingly, data from the people flow company KONE shows us that we stopped moving up and down inside buildings too.
Lifts are a key part of 21st century life. Without them, the dramatic skylines that grace our cities would not exist. As lifts have evolved, city architecture has evolved too.
However, lifts were barely used anywhere during the early part of 2020. In fact, the story of lift use over the past 18 months is in many ways the story of the pandemic. Let’s take a look at lift use in certain key cities during the first set of lockdowns. The number of lift journeys plummets.
As 2020 progresses, the data shows us the effect of different Covid-19 strategies. For example, Singapore’s ‘Covid-zero’ approach meant that, after an initial blip in spring 2020, lift use quickly returned to pre-pandemic levels. Most European cities had a very different experience.
Lift data also tells us which buildings are truly essential for a city to function. During the pandemic, lift use in hotels, shops and other sectors dropped sharply, but hospital lifts were in constant use.
London
80% drop in lift use
Source: KONE, number of monthly starts in selected office buildings, 2020.
Toronto
84% drop in lift use
Source: KONE, number of monthly starts in selected office buildings, 2020.
Kuala Lumpur
64% drop in lift use
Source: KONE, number of monthly starts in selected office buildings, 2020.
Singapore
The quick bounce back reflects Singapore’s proactive and swift approach to managing the pandemic.
Source: KONE, number of monthly starts in selected office buildings, 2020.
Milan
Milan was hit hard by the first and second waves, resulting in strict measures to limit in-person contact.
Source: KONE, number of monthly starts in selected office buildings, 2020.
Amsterdam
In Amsterdam, strong remote working guidance has been in place since March 2020.
Source: KONE, number of monthly starts in selected office buildings, 2020.
Hospitals
100%February(baseline)MarchAprilMay100%February(baseline)MayAugustNovember