Predictive models for human mobility have important applications in many fields such as traffic control, ubiquitous computing and contextual advertisement. The predictive performance of models in literature varies quite broadly, from as high as 93% to as low as under 40%. In this work we investigate which factors influence the accuracy of next-place prediction, using a high-precision location dataset of more than 400 users for periods between 3 months and one year. We show that it is easier to achieve high accuracy when predicting the time-bin location than when predicting the next place. Moreover we demonstrate how the temporal and spatial resolution of the data can have strong influence on the accuracy of prediction. Finally we uncover that the exploration of new locations is an important factor in human mobility, and we measure that on average 20-25% of transitions are to new places, and approx. 70% of locations are visited only once. We discuss how these mechanisms are important factors limiting our ability to predict human mobility.
Understanding Predictability and Exploration in Human Mobility
Andrea Cuttone, Sune Lehmann, Marta C. González