Research on people’s movements is essential to planning and managing cities better.

Transport planners need to understand whether mobility patterns have seen a permanent change because of the pandemic. Mobility data can also be informative about a range of social and economic activities.

This project will tackle the issue by utilising new forms of transport data derived from mobile phone use and innovative analytical approaches.

Aims and Objectives

The main aims of this project are:

  • To develop new analytical approaches to better utilise multi-year mobile phone app data to understand mobility flows. Key questions include:
    • How do we minimise bias in mobile phone app data collected using different apps?
    • How do we mitigate privacy risks?
    • How do we examine mobility patterns (e.g., trip purposes, travel mode choice, origin, and destination matrices, etc.) with mobile phone app data?
  • To investigate how flows at key sites such as city centre workplaces or greenspaces changed under lockdown and after the lifting of restrictions.
  • To examine the durability of changing mobility patterns due to COVID-19 and the role of new transport infrastructure in post-pandemic cities.

We will use multi-year mobile phone app data collections (anonymised and non-identifiable data) covering Glasgow City and neighbouring Council areas. We will utilise a range of analytical approaches to examine and predict mobility patterns.


We are collaborating closely with Glasgow City Council to ensure the outputs from this work address some of the key analytical challenges they face. We have been commissioned to produce an analysis of changes in trip patterns through the pandemic and after the easing of restrictions to inform the updating of transport strategies. We are also producing analyses of flows at key sites which reflect economic activities such as city centre workplaces or ‘high street’ locations. The outputs will help planners and policy makers make more effective policies to meet future transport needs.


Leads: Dr Jinhyun Hong, Dr Qunshan Zhao
Team: Dr Michael Sinclair, Professor Nick Bailey, Dr David McArthur