Spatiotemporal model for assessing the stability of urban human convergence and divergence patterns

Zhixiang Fang, Xiping Yang, Yang Xu, Shih Lung Shaw, Ling Yin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the stability of urban flows is critical for urban transportation, urban planning and public health. However, few studies have measured the stability of aggregate human convergence or divergence patterns. We propose a spatiotemporal model for assessing the stability of human convergence and divergence patterns. A mobile phone location data set obtained from Shenzhen, China, was used to assess the stability of daily human convergence and divergence patterns at three different spatial scales, i.e. points (cell phone towers), lines (bus lines) and areas (traffic analysis zones [TAZs]). Our analysis results demonstrated that the proposed model can identify points and bus lines with time-dependent variations in stability, which is useful for delineating TAZs for transportation planning, or adjusting bus timetables and routes to meet the needs of bus riders. Comparisons of the results obtained from the proposed model and the widely used entropy measure indicated that the proposed model is suitable for assessing the differences in stability for various types of spatial analysis units, e.g. cell phone towers. Therefore, the proposed model is a useful alternative approach of measuring spatiotemporal stability of aggregate human convergence and divergence patterns, which can be derived from the space–time trajectories of moving objects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2119-2141
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Geographical Information Science
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Convergence
  • divergence
  • human mobility
  • mobile phone data
  • stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Library and Information Sciences


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