Mobile phone data reveals travel patterns in cities

September 12, 2016 | 21:31
Mobile phone data reveals travel patterns in cities
Mobile phone data reveals travel patterns in cities

When designing the urban infrastructure, use is made of models which try to predict what everyone's travel behavior will be. These models are mostly based on questionnaires and analyses of the habits of the residents, a process which costs much time and money. It can easily take 10 years before the data is updated. That is why MIT, in cooperation with Ford, have designed a model that uses the data generated from mobile phones.

The location data from cellphones is used in the model to predict traffic patterns and choke points. The researchers, using this in Boston for a test period of six weeks, have managed to collect the same amount of travel-pattern information that would normally take years to obtain.

The logs containing the location data of cellphone users making calls or using the Internet were used as the source of the data. The developed algorithm was able to generate an accurate model from this.

Handy technology for the city planner, but again another case of 'Big brother is watching you', because from this data, the location of the home as well as the place of work and a reasonably accurate profile of each user can be inferred...

Want to know morehttp://news.mit.edu/2016/urban-travel-patterns-cellphone-data-0829.

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