A Statistical Framework for Measuring the Temporal Stability of Human Mobility Patterns

Dong, Zhihang. 2020. "A Statistical Framework for Measuring the Temporal Stability of Human Mobility Patterns." M.A. Thesis, University of Washington, Department of Sociology.
Committee: 
Kyle Crowder (Co-Chair), Adrian Dobra (Co-Chair), Nathalie Williams.

Despite the growing popularity of human mobility studies that collect GPS location data, the problem of determining the minimum required length of GPS monitoring has not been addressed in the current statistical literature. In this paper we tackle this problem by laying out a theoretical framework for assessing the temporal stability of human mobility based on GPS location data. We define several measures of the temporal dynamics of human spatiotemporal trajectories based on the average velocity process, and on activity distributions in a spatial observation window. We demonstrate the use of our methods with data that comprise the GPS locations of 185 individuals over the course of 18 months. Our empirical results suggest that GPS monitoring should be performed over periods of time that are significantly longer than what has been previously suggested. Furthermore, we argue that GPS study designs should take into account demographic groups.

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Status of Research: 
Completed/published
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