Unravelling daily human mobility motifs
Author(s)Schneider, Christian M.; Belik, Vitaly; Couronne, Thomas; Smoreda, Zbigniew; Gonzalez, Marta C.
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Human mobility is differentiated by time scales. While the mechanism for long time scales has been studied, the underlying mechanism on the daily scale is still unrevealed. Here, we uncover the mechanism responsible for the daily mobility patterns by analysing the temporal and spatial trajectories of thousands of persons as individual networks. Using the concept of motifs from network theory, we find only 17 unique networks are present in daily mobility and they follow simple rules. These networks, called here motifs, are sufficient to capture up to 90 per cent of the population in surveys and mobile phone datasets for different countries. Each individual exhibits a characteristic motif, which seems to be stable over several months. Consequently, daily human mobility can be reproduced by an analytically tractable framework for Markov chains by modelling periods of high-frequency trips followed by periods of lower activity as the key ingredient.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division
Journal of The Royal Society Interface
Royal Society, The
Schneider, C. M., V. Belik, T. Couronne, Z. Smoreda, and M. C. Gonzalez. “Unravelling Daily Human Mobility Motifs.” Journal of The Royal Society Interface 10, no. 84 (April 24, 2013): 20130246–20130246.
Author's final manuscript