Characterizing the human mobility pattern in a large street network

Bin Jiang, Junjun Yin, Sijian Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

257 Scopus citations


Previous studies demonstrated empirically that human mobility exhibits Lévy flight behavior. However, our knowledge of the mechanisms governing this Lévy flight behavior remains limited. Here we analyze over 72000 people's moving trajectories, obtained from 50 taxicabs during a six-month period in a large street network, and illustrate that the human mobility pattern, or the Lévy flight behavior, is mainly attributed to the underlying street network. In other words, the goal-directed nature of human movement has little effect on the overall traffic distribution. We further simulate the mobility of a large number of random walkers and find that (1) the simulated random walkers can reproduce the same human mobility pattern, and (2) the simulated mobility rate of the random walkers correlates pretty well (an R square up to 0.87) with the observed human mobility rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number021136
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 31 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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