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2020-04-23

Our video analytics system Polyphemus has analyzed the effect COVID-19 had on the behavior of Tomsk residents

Our video analytics system Polyphemus has analyzed the effect COVID-19 had on the behavior of Tomsk residents. Here, we'll outline the main figures illustrating the changes to the number of people on the street after switching to remote work, the first cases of infection, and the introduction of fines.

Polyphemus gathers video data from a camera installed at the corner of Usova and Belinskogo Streets as a part of the Living Lab project. In real time, our system detects and counts pedestrians, cars, and cyclists. It also determines their speed and movement direction as well as the most popular routes. This data helps the City Infrastructure Development Center of the Tomsk Region to analyze how Tomsk residents use the park in this area.

From December to early March, 36,000 pedestrians and 54,000 cars, on average, passed through the intersection every day. Starting from March 12, traffic increased sharply. On March 11 Polyphemus detected 63,369 cars and 46,705 pedestrians, while the next day these numbers skyrocketed to 160,889 and 81,791 respectively.

Foot traffic started to decline only after March 16. This was the day when Tomsk universities began switching to distance learning, which was followed by the first case of coronavirus infection two days later, on March 18. Here's how the traffic changed:

– March 15 – 53,763 people detected

– March 16 – 44, 649

– March 18 – 35, 210

– March 20 – 29,370

At the same time, people started to use cars more actively. The system detected 97,052 vehicles at the intersection on March 16. This is almost twice the average of the December-March period, with its around 54,000 cars daily.

As of March 30, the first day of the non-working week, the statistics were the lowest: only 2,587 people and 5,841 cars. In the evening, the self-isolation regime was declared in Tomsk, which was followed by a slight increase in foot and road traffic on March 31. That way, Polyphemus detected 45,206 cars and 17,002 pedestrians.

On April 10, the first fines for breaking self-isolation were issued. The system detected 41,360 cars and 16,239 people in the location on that day. The numbers, however, decreased the next day: to 23,160 cars and 9,858 pedestrians.

Following April 13, after the governor gave permission to some local companies to resume work, street traffic started to grow again. On April 15, for instance, Polyphemus detected 45,355 cars and 23,765 people at the intersection of Usova and Belinskogo Streets.

In total, foot traffic has decreased by 3 times over the chosen period: from 51,912 people on March 5 to 16,669 on April 22. On April 22, car traffic was 1.7 times lower than on March 5: 71,077 and 40,704 vehicles respectively.

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