Variability in individual home-work activity patterns

Yang Zhou, Jean Claude Thill, Yang Xu, Zhixiang Fang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The way people allocate time across home and work activities determines their commuting patterns and frames much of the activities they undertake in the urban space. While inter-personal and intra-personal variability and repetitiveness in these activities have been documented, they remain largely underexplored. This study highlights the variations in and between individual home-work activity patterns by using information from metro smart card data as a proxy. To this end, the concept of individual space time usage matrix (STUM) is proposed and an analytical framework is developed in support of its use to depict how each rider allocates time in the vicinity of metro stations spatially and temporally. With this framework, we can classify space-time activity patterns that can be traced back to behavioral variability. By using Wuhan, China as a case study, variability in the number of home/work locations in personal activity patterns, and flexibility of work timeframes are investigated inter- and intra-personally. Our results show that about 25% of the population has a sophisticated home-work activity pattern that does not confirm to the ordinary 1-home 1-workplace pattern. Furthermore, even for this latter group, we find quite differentiated home and work timeframe patterns. The STUM is proved to be an effective and efficient concept to create a personal profile in analyzing the activity variability with big geo-spatial data.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102901
JournalJournal of Transport Geography
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Activity variability
  • Commuting flexibility
  • Home-work patterns
  • Smart card data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Environmental Science(all)

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