Understanding the Impacts of Human Mobility on Accessibility Using Massive Mobile Phone Tracking Data

Bi Yu Chen, Yafei Wang, Donggen Wang, Qingquan Li, Hing Keung William Lam, Shih Lung Shaw

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Many existing accessibility studies ignore human mobility due to the lack of large-scale human mobility data. This study investigates the impacts of human mobility on accessibility using massive mobile phone tracking data collected in Shenzhen, China. In this study, human mobility information is extracted from mobile phone tracking data using a time-geographic approach. The accessibility of each phone user is evaluated using fine spatial resolution across the entire city. The impacts of human mobility on accessibility are quantified by using relative accessibility ratios between phone users and a virtual stationary user in the same residential location. Results of this study enrich understandings of how land use influences relationships between humanmobility and accessibility. For resource-poor regions with sparse service facilities, human mobility can greatly enhance individual accessibility. In contrast, for resource-rich regions with dense service facilities, human mobility can even reduce individual accessibility. Overall, human mobility can reduce spatial inequity of accessibility for people living in different regions of the city. The results of this study also have several important methodological implications for including human mobility and time dimension in accessibility evaluations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1115-1133
Number of pages19
JournalAnnals of the American Association of Geographers
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2018


  • Accessibility
  • Activity spaces
  • Human mobility
  • Spatiotemporal big data
  • Time geography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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