Long commutes and transport inequity in China’s growing megacity: New evidence from Beijing using mobile phone data

Long commuting in large city is a key issue in relation to transport equity as it varies between different people. Who these long-time commuters are is the most primary question to be answered in this research area. However, it is difficult to identify long commutes from millions of trips, particularly in growing megacities in which more than 10 million people live. The existing literature is dominated by traditional travel survey data, which uses limited samples. This study aims to provide new evidence for long commutes and their demographic variations in a megacity using big data analytics on mobile phone data with Beijing as a case. Some 1.80 million regular commuters were identified from 14.71 million mobile phone users over a one-month period. Several conclusions can be drawn from the analysis results. Most of the long-time commuters are male or young people under 35 years old. A trade-off between housing costs saving, commuting times and wage gain is one major reason why people commute long time. Housing cost savings may play a more important role than wage gain in shaping long commutes. Older long-time commuters mainly reside in the city centre due to an insufficiency of jobs for the older adults which is affected by the drastic revenue-oriented urban renewal and the government’s prohibition on informal economic sectors in the city centre. The findings from big data analytics on mobile phone data would show us a more clear and complete image of long commutes and their social inequity in growing megacities.


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  • Accession Number: 01743631
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 23 2020 12:27PM