Human mobility: Models and applications

Hugo Barbosa, Marc Barthelemy, Gourab Ghoshal, Charlotte R. James, Maxime Lenormand, Thomas Louail, Ronaldo Menezes, José J. Ramasco, Filippo Simini, Marcello Tomasini

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

135 Citations (Scopus)
99 Downloads (Pure)


Recent years have witnessed an explosion of extensive geolocated datasets related to human movement, enabling scientists to quantitatively study individual and collective mobility patterns, and to generate models that can capture and reproduce the spatiotemporal structures and regularities in human trajectories. The study of human mobility is especially important for applications such as estimating migratory flows, traffic forecasting, urban planning, and epidemic modeling. In this survey, we review the approaches developed to reproduce various mobility patterns, with the main focus on recent developments. This review can be used both as an introduction to the fundamental modeling principles of human mobility, and as a collection of technical methods applicable to specific mobility-related problems. The review organizes the subject by differentiating between individual and population mobility and also between short-range and long-range mobility. Throughout the text the description of the theory is intertwined with real-world applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-74
Number of pages18
JournalPhysics Reports
Early online date13 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2018


  • Human mobility
  • Human dynamics
  • Random walks
  • Origin-destination matrices

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