City on the move - Studying Brisbane’s community networks

Taking an in-depth look into how people and vehicles travel across a city provides us with new opportunities to improve infrastructure, roadways and public transport allocations.

Dr Mehmet Yildirimo and Dr Jiwon Kim, both lecturers at the School of Civil Engineering for the University of Queensland, used Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads data, including open data, to investigate the community structure in Brisbane’s urban transport network.

An analysis of the movement of people and community structure involves analysing the flow of people and vehicles using different modes of transportation.

Transport data

Dr Yildirimo and Dr Kim created a novel method of graphing population movements using travel data from three different sources:

(*These Queensland Government open datasets contain only aggregated data. This research used de-identified individual-level data not publicly available due to privacy limitations).

Inspired by recent studies into transport analytics, Dr Yildirimo and Dr Kim presented a procedure for dividing a large geographic area into small cells and constructing a graph of transport trajectory data using these cells as nodes.

They were able to identify community mobility networks for the different transport methods/entities, namely, buses, public transport users and vehicles.

"Our analysis has provided a novel approach to the study of city-scale mobility patterns through the newly available data sources that represent the movements of distinct entities in the network and the community detection techniques that identify the natural groups and borders in the system" - Dr Jiwon Kim

Studies such as Dr Yildirimo and Dr Kim’s provide insights in relation to the structure of public transport and irregularities between the supply and demand which can be used to inform planning.

You can access a range of transport and thousands of other Queensland Government open datasets on the Open Data Portal. We would love to hear about how you are using open data. Tell us by contacting us here.

Read the research paper