• A big-data driven approach to analyzing and modeling human mobility trend under non-pharmaceutical interventions during COVID-19 pandemic.

      Hu, Songhua; Xiong, Chenfeng; Yang, Mofeng; Younes, Hannah; Luo, Weiyu; Zhang, Lei (Elsevier Ltd., 2021-01-09)
      During the unprecedented coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) challenge, non-pharmaceutical interventions became a widely adopted strategy to limit physical movements and interactions to mitigate virus transmissions. For situational awareness and decision-support, quickly available yet accurate big-data analytics about human mobility and social distancing is invaluable to agencies and decision-makers. This paper presents a big-data-driven analytical framework that ingests terabytes of data on a daily basis and quantitatively assesses the human mobility trend during COVID-19. Using mobile device location data of over 150 million monthly active samples in the United States (U.S.), the study successfully measures human mobility with three main metrics at the county level: daily average number of trips per person; daily average person-miles traveled; and daily percentage of residents staying home. A set of generalized additive mixed models is employed to disentangle the policy effect on human mobility from other confounding effects including virus effect, socio-demographic effect, weather effect, industry effect, and spatiotemporal autocorrelation. Results reveal the policy plays a limited, time-decreasing, and region-specific effect on human movement. The stay-at-home orders only contribute to a 3.5%-7.9% decrease in human mobility, while the reopening guidelines lead to a 1.6%-5.2% mobility increase. Results also indicate a reasonable spatial heterogeneity among the U.S. counties, wherein the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, income levels, industry structure, age and racial distribution play important roles. The data informatics generated by the framework are made available to the public for a timely understanding of mobility trends and policy effects, as well as for time-sensitive decision support to further contain the spread of the virus.
    • Examining spatiotemporal changing patterns of bike-sharing usage during COVID-19 pandemic

      Hu, Songhua; Xiong, Chenfeng; Liu, Zhanqin; Zhang, Lei (Elsevier Ltd., 2021-02-19)
      The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a globally unprecedented change in human mobility. Leveraging two-year bike-sharing trips from the largest bike-sharing program in Chicago, this study examines the spatiotemporal evolution of bike-sharing usage across the pandemic and compares it with other modes of transport. A set of generalized additive (mixed) models are fitted to identify relationships and delineate nonlinear temporal interactions between station-level daily bike-sharing usage and various independent variables including socio-demographics, land use, transportation features, station characteristics, and COVID-19 infections. Results show: 1) the proportion of commuting trips is substantially lower during the pandemic; 2) the trend of bike-sharing usage follows an “increase-decrease-rebound” pattern; 3) bike-sharing presents as a more resilient option compared with transit, driving, and walking; 4) regions with more white, Asian, and fewer African-American residents are found to become less dependent on bike-sharing; 5) open space and residential areas exhibit less decrease and earlier start-to-recover time; 6) stations near the city center, with more docks, or located in high-income areas go from more increase before the pandemic to more decrease during the pandemic. Findings provide a timely understanding of bike-sharing usage changes and offer suggestions on how different stakeholders should respond to this unprecedented crisis. © 2021 Elsevier Ltd
    • Examining spatiotemporal evolution of racial/ethnic disparities in human mobility and COVID-19 health outcomes: Evidence from the contiguous United States

      Hu, Songhua; Xiong, Chenfeng; Younes, Hannah; Yang, Mofeng; Darzi, Aref; Jin, Zhiyu Catherine (Elsevier BV, 2022-10-29)
      Social distancing has become a key countermeasure to contain the dissemination of COVID-19. This study examined county-level racial/ethnic disparities in human mobility and COVID-19 health outcomes during the year 2020 by leveraging geo-tracking data across the contiguous US. Sets of generalized additive models were fitted under cross-sectional and time-varying settings, with percentage of mobility change, percentage of staying home, COVID-19 infection rate, and case-fatality ratio as dependent variables, respectively. After adjusting for spatial effects, built environment, socioeconomics, demographics, and partisanship, we found counties with higher Asian populations decreased most in travel, counties with higher White and Asian populations experienced the least infection rate, and counties with higher African American populations presented the highest case-fatality ratio. Control variables, particularly partisanship and education attainment, significantly influenced modeling results. Time-varying analyses further suggested racial differences in human mobility varied dramatically at the beginning but remained stable during the pandemic, while racial differences in COVID-19 outcomes broadly decreased over time. All conclusions hold robust with different aggregation units or model specifications. Altogether, our analyses shine a spotlight on the entrenched racial segregation in the US as well as how it may influence the mobility patterns, urban forms, and health disparities during the COVID-19.