Vector-based pedestrian navigation in cities

TitleVector-based pedestrian navigation in cities
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsBongiorno, C, Zhou, Y, Kryven, M, Theurel, D, Rizzo, A, Santi, P, Tenenbaum, JB, Ratti, C
JournalNature Computational Science
Pagination678 - 685
Date Published10/2021

How do pedestrians choose their paths within city street networks? Researchers have tried to shed light on this matter through strictly controlled experiments, but an ultimate answer based on real-world mobility data is still lacking. Here, we analyze salient features of human path planning through a statistical analysis of a massive dataset of GPS traces, which reveals that (1) people increasingly deviate from the shortest path when the distance between origin and destination increases and (2) chosen paths are statistically different when origin and destination are swapped. We posit that direction to goal is a main driver of path planning and develop a vector-based navigation model; the resulting trajectories, which we have termed pointiest paths, are a statistically better predictor of human paths than a model based on minimizing distance with stochastic effects. Our findings generalize across two major US cities with different street networks, hinting to the fact that vector-based navigation might be a universal property of human path planning.

Short TitleNat Comput Sci

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