Cellphone records reveal the basic pattern of human mobility

Mobile phone movement

A few months back, we saw what happens when researchers get their paws on anonymixed mobile phone records. Albert-Laszlo Baribasi at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and some buddies used them to discover entirely new patterns of human behaviour.

Now Baribasi has dug deeper into the data and discovered a single basic pattern of human mobility.  It’s nothing special: lots of smallish journeys interspersed with occasional long ones (the length of the journey actually follows a power law).

That’s more or less what you’d expect but experimental confirmation is important.

Human mobility is one of the crucial factors in understanding the spread of epidemics. Until now, the models that predict how disease spreads have had to rely on educated guesses about the way human travel patterns might affect this process.

Baribasi’s work will take just little of the guesswork out of future efforts and that can’t be bad.

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/0806.1256: Understanding Individual Human Mobility Patterns

One Response to “Cellphone records reveal the basic pattern of human mobility”

  1. Rudy says:

    How long will it take before this information is uttered in the TV show “24”? 🙂