Spatial Factor—Using a Random Forest Classification Model to Measure an Internationally Comparable Urbanity Index

Ulrich Niklas, Sascha von Behren, Tamer Soylu, Johanna Kopp, Bastian Chlond, Peter Vortisch
2020 Urban Science  
Travel behavior can be determined by its spatial context. If there are many shops and restaurants in close proximity, various activities can be done by walking or cycling, and a car is not needed. It is also more difficult (e.g., parking space, traffic jams) to use a car in high-density areas. Overall, travel behavior and dependencies on travel behavior are influenced by urbanity. These relationships have so far only been examined very selectively (e.g., at city level) and not in international
more » ... omparison. In this study we define an Urbanity Index (UI) at zip code level, which considers factors influencing mobility, international comparability, reproducibility as well as practical application and the development of a scalable methodology. In order to describe urbanity, data were collected regarding spatial structure, population, land use, and public transport. We developed the UI using a supervised machine learning technique which divides zip codes into four area types: (1) super-urban, (2) urban, (3) suburban/small town, (4) rural. To train the model, the perception from experts in known zip codes concerning urbanity and mobility was set as ground truth. With the UI, it is possible to compare countries (Germany and France) with a uniform definition and comparable datasets.
doi:10.3390/urbansci4030036 fatcat:5om6dxhcobbtblupxnwfqvrefq