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Wisconsinites increase movement, travel in 2021 compared to last year

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 7:21 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 24, 2021 at 7:32 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The holiday weekend hasn’t started yet, but one UW-Madison researcher says he can already see more movement among Americans in 2021 than he did in 2020.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) is projecting more than 53 million people will travel this Thanksgiving. About 90% of those travelers are expected to hit the road.

Assistant Geography Prof. Song Gao says visits to transportation hubs like airports, train stations and bus stops have significantly increased since last year, according to anonymous cell phone motion tracking data.

Those visits have increase 70% over the last seven days.

Gao added there’s been a huge increase of people willing to exist closer to each other.

“If we look at the close contact index, we actually see much higher, over 269% increase,” Gao said. “Which means, in addition to travel people are willing to stay closer to each other, maybe that’s because people are vaccinated.”

Gao says he expects these trends to grow heading into December.

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