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Researchers Track Job and Housing Dynamics with Transit Smartcard Data

Nov 21, 2018     Email"> PrintText Size

Have you ever thought about changing your job due to being squeezed for over 45 minutes in a metro carriage each day?

Researchers used transit smartcards from travelers in Beijing retained over a seven-year period from 2011 to 2017 to track boarding and alighting metro stations associated with home and work location.

They tracked who moved and who remained at their homes and workplace and provided a longitudinal study of job and housing dynamics with group conceptualization and characterization.

With the seven-year transit smartcard dataset, researchers traced individual trajectories of residences and workplaces.

Based on in-metro travel times before and after job and/or home moves, they found that 45 minutes is an inflection point where the behavioral preference changes.

Commuters whose travel time exceeds the point prefer to shorten commutes by moving, while others with shorter commutes tend to increase travel time for better jobs and/or residences.

Moreover, the researchers captured four mobility groups -- home mover, job hopper, job-and-residence switcher and stayer.

Stayers with a high job and housing stability tend to be apartment owners subject to middle- to high-income groups. Home movers work at places similar to stayers, while they may upgrade from tenancy to ownership. Switchers increase commute time as well as housing expenditure via job and home moves, as they pay for better residences and work farther from home. Job hoppers mainly reside in the suburbs, suffer from long commutes, change jobs frequently and are likely to be low-income migrants.

The research was jointly conducted by the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research of Chinese Academy of Sciences, the University of Sydney, the University of Hong Kong and Beijing Jiaotong University.

Residential locations, the jobs-housing relationship and commuting patterns are key elements to understand the urban spatial structure and how city dwellers live.

Their successive interaction is important for various fields including urban planning, transport, intraurban migration studies and social science.

However, understanding of the long-term trajectories of the workplace and home location and the resulting commuting patterns is still limited due to the lack of year-to-year data tracking individual behavior. (Xinhua)

(Editor: CHEN Na)

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