Determining discretionary activity locations from mobile positioning data: a study with passive mobile positioning data


Activity-based travel behaviour research focus has so far been set mainly on modelling and understanding the daily time use and resulting activity patterns and travel demand. Little research has been done on the spatial mobility of the individual related to discretionary activities. The impact of discretionary activities on travel is less studied topic because traditional data collection methods such as activity diaries or transportation census cover mostly shorter time periods and daily regular activities. Discretionary activities, however, often involve events that remain outside of daily routine and can be observed during longer time frames, often having seasonal distribution.
The objective of this research is to evaluate the suitability of passive mobile positioning data for determination of individual’s discretionary activity locations. We hypothesize that the passive mobile positioning data allows us to evaluate spatial mobility with greater accuracy than the traditional survey methods over a longer period of time. Moreover, compared to the traditional surveys, the passive mobile positioning data allows larger sample sizes and minimizes the respondent burden.
The mobile positioning data includes one year of call detail records (CDR) from respondents included in the study. A model is created to establish the conditions for successful discretionary activity location determination from the data. We use questionnaire data for defining the discretionary activity places of the individuals and the visitation regularity of those places in Estonia to compare them with the actual mobility patterns during 12 months using the passive mobile positioning data. Our questionnaire data includes information about individual’s socio-economic attributes, visited places and the purpose of the visit including information about regularity and seasonality, transportation mode for different kind of trips and information about mobile phone use which is then used to set the boundary conditions for determining the discretionary activity locations from the aforementioned data.

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