Mobility data reveals the universal law of visits in cities

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New research published in Nature It provides a powerful yet surprisingly easy way to determine the number of visitors to any location in the city.

Scientists at the Santa Fe Institute, MIT, and ETH Zurich have discovered and developed a scaling method that manages the number of visitors to any location based on distance traveled and frequency of visits. Visiting methods open up unprecedented possibilities for accurately predicting flow between locations and can ultimately be applied to everything from city planning to preventing the spread of the next pandemic.

“Imagine, for example, standing in a busy square in Boston and people coming and going. This may seem pretty random and chaotic, but the law surprises these moves. It shows that it is as structured and predictable as these people come from 1, 2, or 10 km away and visit once, twice, or 10 times a month. There are also, “said Markus Schläpfer, lead author of the ETH Zurich Institute for Future Cities. “And the best part is that this same regularity applies not only to Boston, but to cities around the world as a whole.”

Researchers found mobile phones from millions of anonymized mobile phone users in highly diverse urban regions around the world, including Greater Boston in the United States, Lisbon in Europe, Singapore in Asia, and Dakar in Africa. This is the result of analysis of telephone data. .. Schläpfer began analyzing and developing the theory in collaboration with senior author Geoffrey West, a postdoctoral fellow at the Santa Fe Institute and a physicist who leads urban, scaling, and sustainability projects. It was then expanded to include researchers at the MIT Sensitive Cities Institute under the leadership of architect Carlo Ratti.

Universally, they found that the number of visitors to a city location scaled as the inverse square of both the distance traveled from home and the frequency of visits.Attractive, like the gravitational pull of a big planet city Squares with magnificent museums and famous shops are less frequent than those who come from nearby places, but attract a relatively large number of visitors from farther places. Their relative numbers are predictably determined by the inverse square law. An even more surprising result of this new visit is that the same number of people come from, for example, 3 km 3 times a week, 10 km away, or 10 km a week, 3 km away. Is to visit that place.

Previous surveys used mobile phone data to investigate human movements from an individual perspective, but this uses mobile to focus on the frequency of visits from a location perspective. This is the first systematic survey. Telephone data to understand the relative attractiveness and usefulness of urban areas.

“There is Optimization problem We’re moving forward here in terms of the amount of energy people are using, the distance traveled, and the number of trips, “says Geoffrey West. “When we travel for leisure, we choose a destination. Everyday lifeThese choices are more enforced, for example, because you have to go to work five times a week or pick up your child twice. But there is this amazing savings inherent in visiting methods: the average amount of energy people have. The assignments to travel are the same even if they try to do it over different distances or at different frequencies. “

Schläpfer says new paper can be given Urban planner In terms of the number of people that attract, “a baseline for understanding which parts of the city are above or below performance.” You can notify planners about where to add amenities such as parks and restaurants, and the amount of public transport needed for new urban development.

The Law of Visit joins the urban science research that SFI researchers and their collaborators have pioneered since 2007, when they first discovered a universal law governing the growth, innovation and pace of life of the city. I am.

“All the problems we face, especially Climate change “It’s generated in the city because it’s where people are, so understanding the city and how people move around it is the future of life on this planet. It’s a basic question about. ”

How did COVID-19 change the “superstar city”?

For more information:
A universal way of visiting human movements, Nature (2021). DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-021-03480-9

Provided by
Santa Fe Institute

Quote: Mobility data is available from on May 26, 2021 (May 26, 2021) Reveals the universal law of visit

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Mobility data reveals the universal law of visits in cities

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