Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Shih-Lung Shaw

Committee Members

Bruce Ralston, Hyun Kim, Lee Han


Studying human mobility patterns and people’s use of space has been a major focus in geographic research for ages. Recent advancements of location-aware technologies have produced large collections of individual tracking datasets. Mobile phone location data, as one of the many emerging data sources, provide new opportunities to understand how people move around at a relatively low cost and unprecedented scale. However, the increasing data volume, issue of data sparsity, and lack of supplementary information introduce additional challenges when such data are used for human behavioral research. Effective analytical methods are needed to meet the challenges to gain an improved understanding of individual mobility and collective behavioral patterns.

This dissertation proposes several approaches for analyzing two types of mobile phone location data (Call Detail Records and Actively Tracked Mobile Phone Location Data) to uncover important characteristics of human mobility patterns and activity spaces. First, it introduces a home-based approach to understanding the spatial extent of individual activity space and the geographic patterns of aggregate activity space characteristics. Second, this study proposes an analytical framework which is capable of examining multiple determinants of individual activity space simultaneously. Third, the study introduces an anchor-point based trajectory segmentation method to uncover potential demand of bicycle trips in a city.

The major contributions of this dissertation include: (1) introducing an activity space measure that can be used to evaluate how individuals use urban space around where they live; (2) proposing an analytical framework with three individual mobility indicators that can be used to summarize and compare human activity spaces systematically across different population groups or geographic regions; (3) developing analytical methods for uncovering the spatiotemporal dynamics of travel demand that can be potentially served by bicycles in a city, and providing suggestions for the locations and daily operation of bike sharing stations.

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