Ythier, J., Walker, J., and Bierlaire, M. (2012)

The role of the social network and the usage of communication in travel behavior measured with Smartphone data

In this paper we investigate the use of a smartphone database to explore influences on travel behavior. Our aim is to exploit the rich individual-level data available from the smartphone to study the influence of communication and social contacts (collected via phone call and sms logs) on spatial movement (collected via GPS). An advantage of smartphone data is the ability to collect such rich data without user input over a long period of time, and the disadvantage is the difficulty associated with processing the data. We work with three months of data from 111 people collected via a snowball sample. In studying travel behavior, we focus on high level measures of mobility as represented by the size of one's activity space and one's travel intensity (our dependent variables). We use as explanatory variables sociodemographics, spatial relationship between home and work, communication use (number of phone calls and sms), and the travel behavior of those in the sample who are connected to the respondent (where connectivity is measured by phone and sms contact). We describe how these variables were processed from the smartphone data and present estimation results from the regression analysis. We find that people tend to travel in a similar manner as those they are socially connected to (consistent with the social network and travel literature) and that communication use is a compliment to physical travel (consistent with the telecommunication and travel literature). The results, although preliminary, illustrate how smartphone data can be exploited to reveal complex features of travel behavior.

Download PDF