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To what extent do people comply with social distancing directives? How can compliance be improved?



Until there is a vaccine or treatment, social distancing is vital to mitigate the spread of the Covid-19 virus. A critical challenge is to ensure that members of the public adjust their behavior to comply with official guidelines. Ensuring compliance beyond the first wave is extra challenging as authorities start to ease stay-at-home restrictions in an effort to reopen society. This necessitates that people keep a safe distance from one another at their own initiative, while facing increasing interpersonal contact in larger groups.



Compliance with social distancing directives will vary across time, individuals, and situations. Policies, media framing, and individual attitudes will affect behavioral compliance. Gaining insight into these predictors will provide tools for improving behavioral compliance.


Plan van Aanpak

The project develops a multi-disciplinary (social-behavioral, communication, and computer science) and mixed-methods approach to advance a CCTV-based instrument to monitor the effectiveness of Covid-19 measures and thus evaluate and inform the policies adopted to promote compliance. This instrument uniquely combines objective measurements of social distancing behaviors (captured by video surveillance and artificial intelligence technologies), with media content and survey analysis of social attitudes towards mitigation measures.


The developed instrument allows for dynamic tracking and optimization of Covid-19 measures relevant to policymakers, public health officials, and disease simulation scholars. The behavioral monitor system can be applied nationally and internationally, in all public and semi-public environments where surveillance cameras are installed. The information obtained may guide government policy decisions in both the current and future pandemics.


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