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Money Circulation, Trackable Items, and the Emergence of Universal Human Mobility Patterns
October-December 2008 (vol. 7 no. 4)
pp. 28-35
Dirk Brockmann, Northwestern University
Fabian Theis, Institute of Bioinformatics and Systems Biology, Munich
The authors report on the discovery of statistical regularities, mathematical laws, and universal characteristics underlying multiscale human mobility. Their study is based on the generation of proxy networks for global human travel behavior from pervasive user data collected at the world's largest bill-tracking Web site and trajectories of trackable items known as travel bugs recorded at a geocaching Web site. From this pervasive data, they extract multiscale human traffic networks for the US and European countries that cover distances of a few to a few thousand kilometers. These proxy networks permit reliable estimates of statistical features such as degree, flux, and traffic weight distributions. The authors show that despite cultural and national differences, universal properties exist in a diverse set of traffic networks, allowing important insight into the understanding of traffic-related phenomena such as the geographic spread of emergent infectious diseases and human-mediated bioinvasion.

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Index Terms:
multiscale human traffic, complex networks, wheresgeorge.com, geocaching, Lévy flights, transportation networks, human mobility, trackable items, travel bugs, user-generated content
Citation:
Dirk Brockmann, Fabian Theis, "Money Circulation, Trackable Items, and the Emergence of Universal Human Mobility Patterns," IEEE Pervasive Computing, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 28-35, Oct.-Dec. 2008, doi:10.1109/MPRV.2008.77
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