research lines

Human mobility

Albert Diaz-Guilera

The increased pervasiveness of information and communication technologies is enabling the tracking of human mobility at an unprecedented scale. Massive call detail records from mobile phone activities and the use of global positioning systems (GPS) in large vehicle fleets for instance, are generating extraordinary quantities of positional and movement data available for researchers who aim to understand human activity in space. Other data sources, such as observations of banknote circulation, online location-based social networks, radio frequency identification traces, or even virtual movements of avatars in online games have also been used as proxies for human movements.

These studies have provided valuable insights into several aspects of human mobility, uncovering distinct features of human travel behavior such as scaling laws or predictability of trajectories among others. Besides empirical studies, the surge of available data on human mobility has also evoked interest in developing new theoretical models of mobility at several scales. Such models have deep implications for various subjects ranging from epidemiology to urbanism, with special importance in city planning and policy action.

Being movement an activity based on a displacement between two points, it can naturally be studied from the point of view of networks. This research line of our lab focuses on developping theoretical and techincal tools to allow the study of human mobility processes taking a statistical phyisics view.

Relevant references

Supersampling and Network Reconstruction of Urban Mobility

Oleguer Sagarra, Michael Szell, Paolo Santi, Albert Díaz-Guilera, and Carlo Ratti
PLoS One (2015)