City Research Online

Multi-scale spatio-temporal analysis of human mobility

Alessandretti, L., Sapiezynski, P., Lehmann, S. & Baronchelli, A. (2017). Multi-scale spatio-temporal analysis of human mobility. PLoS One, 12(2), e0171686. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0171686


The recent availability of digital traces generated by phone calls and online logins has significantly increased the scientific understanding of human mobility. Until now, however, limited data resolution and coverage have hindered a coherent description of human displacements across different spatial and temporal scales. Here, we characterise mobility behaviour across several orders of magnitude by analysing ∼850 individuals' digital traces sampled every ∼16 seconds for 25 months with ∼10 meters spatial resolution. We show that the distributions of distances and waiting times between consecutive locations are best described by log-normal and gamma distributions, respectively, and that natural time-scales emerge from the regularity of human mobility. We point out that log-normal distributions also characterise the patterns of discovery of new places, implying that they are not a simple consequence of the routine of modern life.

Publication Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Mathematics
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (3MB) | Preview



Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login