Group Member: J. L. Toole (ESD-PhD Student, MIT).
Collaborators: Shan Jiang (DUSP-PhD Student, MIT) and Prof. Joe Ferreira (DUSP, MIT).
Left: Location request to Wi-Fi access points as collected from millions of mobile phones across the city of Boston is mapped in both space and time, revealing remarkably detailed information about the complexities of dynamic land use. Right: Variations from the average activity detected in blocks of the city with different land use during one week (starting on a Sunday), one can detect movement of the global activity from residential areas to commercial and parks at certain times of the day. We propose a deeper analysis of this data to reveal salient patterns in urban dynamic land use.
The proliferation of mobile computing devices, principally cellular phones, have become an invaluable tool, helping us understand how cities function as a complex system so that we can we can increase the effectiveness and efﬁciency of urban planning and design. Behaviors can be decomposed into just a few fundamental patterns that can then be used to differentiate between groups of individuals or types of spaces. The properties of these patterns have been explored, laying the groundwork to discover how people move across space and interact with each other. We propose to expand upon previous work in two important ways: scaling methods from the college campus to entire cities, and exploring not just how far people are traveling, but how they are using these locations dynamically in time. To do this, we will leverage data generated from millions of mobile phone users in a major metropolitan area as they access location-based services on their phones. A phones ability to accurately locate itself to WiFi access points within 25m allows us to measure dynamic population density for roughly every intersection of a city at every hour of the day. Additionally, we will compare the results with survey data using data mining techniques, which have not been applied in this context before. Since the survey collected over the metropolitan area is conducted by the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for the regional transportation planning purposes, it is a representative sample of the total population of the region, these data will be used to sample and compare the land use and trips captured from the mobile phone.
Impact: This is a signiﬁcant improvement over the static and often outdated classiﬁcations dictated by traditional zoning and urban planning regulations. Moreover, a deeper understanding of population ﬂow is critical to planning police, or public health attempts to better prepare a city to resist disease outbreaks. (see related publication)