Monitoring travel patterns with mobile phone network data

23/10/2020
  Monitoring with mobile phone network data Copyright: fina

In a new publication authors of the Professorship for Analysis and Monitoring of Urban Regions at RWTH Aachen University discuss the possibility to use mobile phone network data to monitor spatial policies in land use and transport planning. Monitoring requires robust time series and reproducible concepts linking spatial policies to monitoring outcomes, a requirement differing from current literature where mobile phone data analysis is exemplified in selected areas with privileged data access. Concepts need to serve the evaluation of policy objectives, for example in regional or local area plans. In this study, we, therefore, extend the application of mobile phone network data to monitoring applications comparing urban settlement types and their characteristic mobility patterns. To accomplish this, we link mobile phone records with urban classifications and transport network data, using both visual and computational approaches to mine the data. The article presents comparisons of travel patterns for selected monocentric and polycentric city regions in Germany, testing hypotheses of transit-oriented regional development, as well as testing for congestion risks in the transport network. The results help us to gain a more detailed understanding of spatial and temporal patterns in mobility for different urban types and assess future potentials for monitoring spatial policies with mobile phone network data.

The full publication in the Journal of Digital Earth can be found here.