Influence of sociodemographic characteristics on human mobility

Lenormand, Maxime ; Louail, T; Cantu-Ros, O G; Picornell, M; R Herranz, R; Murillo Arias, J ; Barthelemy, M; San Miguel, Maxi; Ramasco, Jose J
Scientific Reports 5, 10075 (2015)

Human mobility has been traditionally studied using surveys that deliver snapshots of population displacement patterns. The growing accessibility to ICT information obtained from portable digital media has recently opened the possibility of going beyond such fixed pictures, exploring human behavior at high spatio-temporal resolutions. Mobile phone records, geolocated tweets, check-ins from Foursquare or geotagged photos, have contributed to this purpose at different scales from cities to countries and in different areas of the world. Many of these previous works have lacked, however, details on the attributes of the individuals. In this work, we analyze credit-card transaction records as mobility proxies and assess the influence of sociodemographic characteristics on the way people move and spend their money in cities. In particular, we focus on Barcelona and Madrid, the two most populated cities of Spain, and by examining the geolocated credit-card transactions of individuals living in the two provinces, we find that consumption habits and mobility patterns vary according to gender, age and occupation. Differences in distance traveled and travel purpose are observed between younger and older people, but, curiously, either between males and females of similar age. While mobility displays some generic features, here we show that sociodemographic characteristics play a relevant role and must be taken into account for human mobility modelization.

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