629 Monitoring human mobility in urban systems: a new technique based on cell-phone activity

Riccardo Pulselli, Pietro Romano, Stefano Magaudda, Enzo Tiezzi, Riccardo Pulselli
1 ABSTRACT This paper presents a new technique for monitoring human mobility in a territorial system based on cell-phone activity. Considering that cells are the areas covered by the signal transmitted by an antenna that records the number of users connected while they make a call, mobile-telephone traffic data was monitored for each cell in a wide region. Based on this data regarding the position and intensity of mobile phone use, it is possible to monitor daily variations and how these
more » ... ons change over time. Based on the statistics, we are in a position to presume that the telephone traffic in a certain region is indicative of the effective population density and its variation in 24 hours. While exploiting new techniques developed for mobile phone systems, this study presents a spatial analysis of social dynamics in urban areas. Mobile phone activity data was represented in a series of maps in order to visualize patterns of geo-demography in a given territory and to provide a kind of dynamic population census in an urban system. Variations in telephone traffic, monitored in time and space, portray city life based on people's actual movements and how they use space and infrastructures. Different ways of using urban space can be monitored and measured over time. Two case studies were developed in the metropolitan area of Pescara (central Italy) and a coastal area on the Adriatic sea and in the metropolitan area of Milan. This research project was carried out in collaboration with an Italian telecommunications company.