Living Lab Austria & Latvia

This transnational Living Lab deals with the applicability of mobile phone data for monitoring mobility budget consumption. 

Key questions
  • How can phone data be used to monitor mobility budgets, while ensuring privacy and data protection?
  • How can mobile phone trajectories be matched to different modes of transport and travel routes?
Expected results

This Living Lab develops a methodology to apply phone data for reliable information about the consumption of Individual Mobility Budgets while ensuring strict privacy standards. 

Monitoring Mobility Budgets

How do regional populations respond to the implementation of an Individual Mobility Budget? This transnational Living Lab explores the possibilities of quantitative cell phone data analysis to measure if and how people change their mobility behaviour under the constraints of an Individual Mobility Budget. Special attention is dedicated to data protection and privacy.

The primary objective of this Living Lab is to create tools to monitor the travel behaviour in any given region. These tools can be used to track behavioural changes and allocate mobility budgets. The core idea is to use cell phone data to analyse which modes of transport people are using.

The Living Lab conducts its research in Latvia and Austria, partnering with Hutchison Drei Austria GmbH and Latvijas Mobilais Telefons (LMT), two major mobile operators in their respective country, who provide the cell phone data.

To understand how people travel in their region, mobile phone data is coupled with socio-economic data to extract insights into travel patterns. Cell phone data, which records the sequence of cell towers used by a mobile phone, facilitates precise location tracking. This data is matched with information on the local transportation infrastructure, including roads and public transit networks. This harmonization allows for the extrapolation of the most likely travel routes people adopt. Consequently, the resulting data enables us to estimate the average distances travelled and carbon emissions associated with each mode of transport within a given region.

Addressing privacy concerns, the methodology employs aggregated data instead of individual travel paths. Our approach goes beyond basic pseudonymization of mobile data and avoids re-identification risks by using aggregated origin-destination flows and cell handovers rather than complete movement histories of individuals. This way, privacy is ensured.

The methods for behaviour observation have already been successfully applied to greater Vienna region, and can be transferred to other regions on a national scale. The Living Lab demonstrates that the usage of mobile phone data is a simple and cost-effective and efficient way for measuring mobility patterns.

The tools for measuring people’s movements can then be used to compare travel behaviour under the constraints of Individual Mobility Budgets with the existing status quo. This way, it is possible to analyse how the introduction of Individual Mobility Budgets shapes travel behaviour and assess it’s effectiveness in lowering carbon emissions. The tools created within this Living Lab thus enable policymakers to formulate evidence-based policies tailored to the travel behaviour of the regional population.