Mobile phones in a traffic flow: a geographical perspective to evening rush hour traffic analysis using call detail records.

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Publication Date: 
Nov 16, 2012

Excessive land use and suburbanisation around densely populated urban areas has gone hand in hand with a growth in overall transportation and discussions about causality of traffic congestions. The objective of this paper is to gain new insight regarding the composition of traffic flows, and to reveal how and to what extent suburbanites' travelling affects rush hour traffic. We put forward an alternative methodological approach using call detail records of mobile phones to assess the composition of traffic flows during the evening rush hour in Tallinn, Estonia. We found that daily commuting and suburbanites influence transportation demand by amplifying the evening rush hour traffic, although daily commuting trips comprises only 31% of all movement at that time. The geography of the Friday evening rush hour is distinctive from other working days, presumably in connection with domestic tourism and leisure time activities. This suggests that the rise of the overall mobility of individuals due to societal changes may play a greater role in evening rush hour traffic conditions than does the impact of suburbanisation.