Institut für Verkehrsplanung und Transportsysteme, ETH Zürich
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Structure and use of human activity spaces (Borlänge-Data)


ETH Zürich
Prof. Dr. Kay W. Axhausen
Institut für Verkehrsplanung und Transportsysteme (IVT)
HIL F 31.3
Stefano-Franscini-Platz 5
8093 Zürich

Tel: +41 44 633 39 43
Fax: +41 44 633 10 57



Partner des IVT

Chaire de recherche opérationelle, Département de Mathématiques, EPF Lausanne


Prof. Dr. Kay W. Axhausen
Stefan Schönfelder


ETH Zürich


01.07.2002 – 30.06.2004


Transport planning, psychology and geography conceive human behaviour in space to be constrained by the activity space of a person. In this activity space the travellers choose routes through time and space to meet their obligations, needs and desires. The travellers will try to choose these routes optimally, but they are constraint by their knowledge (mental map), their reasoning abilities and by the time and concentration they have available to construct and select the route.

In a wider sense, the activity space comprises both those locations of which a traveller has personal experience, as well as the knowledge space of locations, of which the traveller has second hand experiences through family, friends, books, films or other media. In the following, activity space refers to the first set of locations, those which a traveller has personally used.

Global Positioning System (GPS) - based tracking of individuals allows for the first time to study individual human activity spaces in detail, as such passive tracing is possible for many months and has no spatial boundaries. Based on an existing data set from Borlange, Sweden the project wants to address three fundamental behavioural questions:

The answers to each of these questions will improve our ability to model and forecast traveller behaviour in transport planning models. In addition, they make valuable contributions to the discussions in fields, such as human navigation, environmental psychology or human geography and urban sociology.

The data set is created as part of a traffic safety project in Borlange. The project test the impacts of an in-car speed warning device, which informs the driver about violations of the local speed limit. 400 vehicles/drivers participate for at least 6 month each (up to a maximum of 15 months).


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