Human Mobility in a Continuum Approach

Filippo Simini*, Amos Maritan, Zoltan Neda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


Human mobility is investigated using a continuum approach that allows to calculate the probability to observe a trip to any arbitrary region, and the fluxes between any two regions. The considered description offers a general and unified framework, in which previously proposed mobility models like the gravity model, the intervening opportunities model, and the recently introduced radiation model are naturally resulting as special cases. A new form of radiation model is derived and its validity is investigated using observational data offered by commuting trips obtained from the United States census data set, and the mobility fluxes extracted from mobile phone data collected in a western European country. The new modeling paradigm offered by this description suggests that the complex topological features observed in large mobility and transportation networks may be the result of a simple stochastic process taking place on an inhomogeneous landscape.

Original languageEnglish
Article number60069
Number of pages8
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2013


  • human mobility
  • migrations


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