Mapping Dominant Urban Paths

by Akshay Kumar (Yale University)

I am a senior at Yale writing a thesis research project attempting to use geolocation data to understand the dominant pathways in New York City via vector-clustering methods.

I am a senior at Yale University studying Applied Mathematics. As part of a senior thesis project, I am studying the ways that people travel through the city, and specifically looking at New York City. I am interested in analyzing whether vector-clustering methods can help elucidate dominant pathways in the city, and whether these pathways can be overlaid with public transportation routes to understand how public transport is being utilized or underutilized.

OpenPaths data will be used to construct vectors detailing an individual's movement through the city over a course of days. Specifically, the latitude, longitude, and time of OpenPaths check-ins will be used and a clustering algorithm will be applied onto this data. All data will be entirely anonymized.

OpenPaths data will be stored exclusively on a single computer, and will be fully anonymized and scrubbed of any identifying information. The data itself will never leave that computer, and any graphical representations of the data will be general in nature and consist of the overall features of data from many users taken together.

This project is being conducted with the Chen lab at Yale as my advisor, and I will make efforts to host the productive results of this data on the web for public consumption. We may attempt to publish a paper depending on the success of the work.