Name Analyzing Commuting with Mobile Phone Metadata
Source Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Description This study shows that mobile phone call detail records offer a consistent method for investigating mobility patterns in wholly different parts of the world. Home-work commuting has always attracted significant research attention because of its impact on human mobility. One of the key assumptions in this domain of study is the universal uniformity of commute times. However, a true comparison of commute patterns has often been hindered by the intrinsic differences in data collection methods, which make observation from different countries potentially biased and unreliable. In the present work, the researchers approach this problem through the use of mobile phone call detail records (CDRs), which offers a consistent method for investigating mobility patterns in wholly different parts of the world. They apply the analysis to a broad range of datasets, at both the country (Portugal, Ivory Coast, and Saudi Arabia), and city (Boston) scale. Additionally, they compare these results with those obtained from vehicle GPS traces in Milan. While different regions have some unique commute time characteristics, they show that the home-work time distributions and average values within a single region are indeed largely independent of commute distance or country (Portugal, Ivory Coast, and Boston)–despite substantial spatial and infrastructural differences. Furthermore, their comparative analysis demonstrates that such distance-independence holds true only one considers multimodal commute behaviours–as consistent with previous studies. In car-only (Milan GPS traces) and car-heavy (Saudi Arabia) commute datasets, one can see that commute time is indeed influenced by commute distance. Finally, the researchers put forth a testable hypothesis and suggest ways for future work to make more accurate and generalizable statements about human commute behaviours.
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Lead Institution Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Type Research
Potential for reuse Medium
Open source N/A
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Status Pilot
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    Created On 2014-04-12
    Updated On 2014-04-12
    Status Published
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