How to test the curfew effectiveness in City of Melbourne with GIS?

Alex Li
4 min readAug 29, 2020


Victoria has been combating the second wave of COVID-19 with curfew for 4 weeks, with significant results curving daily increasing cases down from 671 on Aug 2, the beginning of curfew, to 113 on Aug 28, the lowest since July 6th. That’s the great efforts from all the people of Victoria for the final victory over pandemic. For this goal, we need to continue and stabilize the effective policies and restrictions. Hence, we should figure out where and how much the reducing effects are, and where we should place more attention to reinforcement. We selected the City of Melbourne as the case, the densest area and heart of business in Victoria, and the database: the Pedestrian Count System (, which was supported by sensors automatically collecting pedestrians’ come and go from different directions.

1. Goal

This analysis was intended to show the effectiveness (i.e. reducing pedestrian counts and ratio) of curfew time (from 8 pm to 5 am the next morning) during the curfew stating day Aug 2 till Aug 28, 2020, which was calculated by reducing ratio for hourly average counts compared to the last 4 weeks’ average level. Related maps could be useful for officials of city councils and related industries such as health and police.

2. Data

Sensors for pedestrian counting in City of Melbourne

Hourly average pedestrian counts in curfew time and the past 4 weeks’ hourly average data could be collected from daily .CSV data files from Pedestrian Counting System, and then be manipulated with Excel Power Query and ArcGIS Pro 2.6 after carefully data cleaning.

The coordinates for each sensor was from Open Data of the City of Melbourne. According to the calculating results, only 55 out of 66 sensors were selected because of no data at that time.

3. Results with mapping

3.1 Overall

The curfew action in City of Melbourne really reduced people coming out at nights compared to the last 4 weeks (July 5 ~ Aug 1). The sensors along Swanston St within CBD showed greater reduced effects combining all 10 hours in curfew time, no matter in ratios and amounts.

The sensor of Flinders St-Elizabeth St (East) showed the most significant reducing amount (1021 counts) in curfew time altogether and Melbourne Central showed the greatest reducing ratio (63.9%), compared to the last 4 weeks’ average data. The lowest in counts and ratio happened at Sensor of QVM-Therry St (South), 13, and Bourke Street Mall (South), 0.6%, respectively.

Mapping of reducing counts and ratio in curfew time, Aug 2 ~ Aug 28, City of Melbourne
Overall reducing pedestrian counts and ratio in curfew, Aug 2 ~ Aug 28, City of Melbourne

3.2 Each hour

The reducing ratio per hour from 8pm to 5am were decreasing from 68% to 9%. 92% of hourly data from 55 sensors were positive.

8% of sensors, significantly the Bourke St Mall (South) on 1 am, Faraday St-Lygon St (West), Lygon St (East) and Bourke St Bridge on 3 am, Alfred Place and Sandridge Bridge on 5 am, were increasing in hourly average pedestrian counts.

Distribution of reducing ratio per hour in curfew, Aug 2 ~ Aug 28, City of Melbourne
3D Mapping of hourly reducing ratio of pedestrians, Aug 2 ~ Aug 28, City of Melbourne

4.Policy discussion

The curfew policy was made successfully in reducing penetration counts in City of Melbourne, excel at downwarding curve of daily COVID-19 cases in Melbourne Metropolitan Area. But we could also see there are areas with the somewhat increasing trend and alerts for continuing bending curve till the final victory still remain.

For the City of Melbourne and other suburbs, the requirement of minimizing daily cases may be the priority and will set a great example for Victoria, the Common Wealth and even the whole world. Hence, we need to concentrate on some spots and curfew period especially the early morning, clarifying the increasing pedestrian from the curfew breakers and necessary workers, and strengthing the policy implementation with police enforcement and supports.



Alex Li

A senior policy consultant, GIS user, and land-water industry adviser. Love to investigate current policies and show better managing skills.