Covid-19 pandemic and activity patterns in Milan. Wi-Fi sensors and location-based data

Keywords: Urban mobility, Traffic data, Wi-Fi sensors, GIS analysis, Covid-19 pandemic


The recent development of location detection systems allows to monitor, understand and predict the activity patterns of the city users. In this framework, the research focuses on the analysis of a sample of aggregated traffic data, based on the number of mobile devices detected through a network of 55 Wi-Fi Access Points in Milan. Data was collected over 7 months (January to July 2020), allowing for a study on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on activity patterns. Data analysis was based on merging: (i) time series analysis of trends, peak hours and mobility profiles; (ii) GIS-based spatial analysis of land data and Public Transport data. Results showed the effectiveness of Wi-Fi location data to monitor and characterize long-term trends about activity patterns in large scale urban scenarios. Results also showed a significant correlation between Wi-Fi data and the density distribution of residential buildings, service and transportation facilities, entertainment, financial amenities, department stores and bike-sharing docking stations. In this context, a Suitability Analysis Index is proposed, aiming at identifying the areas of Milan which could be exploited for more extensive data collection campaigns by means of the installation of additional Wi-Fi sensors. Future work is based on the development of Wi-Fi sensing applications for monitoring mobility data in real time.



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Author Biographies

Andrea Gorrini, Systematica Srl

He is an environmental psychologist with experience in human behavior in transport systems, pedestrian crowd dynamics and walkability. Since 2019, he collaborates with Systematica as Transport Research Consultant. He oversees research and development activities related to the identification, collection and exploitation of different mobility data sources through GIS, data analytics, video tracking tools and questionnaires.

Federico Messa, Systematica Srl

He joined Systematica in 2016. He is an Architect since 2021 and he has been active as a transport consultant on a diverse set of projects, ranging from territorial studies to masterplans and complex buildings mobility strategies. He is also involved in architecture and mobility research studies, mainly related to urban dynamics, mobility data analysis and visualization, project performance analysis and spatial analysis.

Giulia Ceccarelli, Systematica Srl

She joined Systematica in 2020, having a background in geomatics for the built environment and architecture. Her interests include deep learning methods for computer vision, location data analytics and spatial information modelling. In Systematica, she is involved in research projects focusing on emerging technologies.

Rawad Choubassi, Systematica Srl

He currently acts as a Director and Board member of Systematica where he leads planning and research projects on mobility in urban environments and complex buildings. Choubassi has gained previous experience, prior to joining Systematica in 2008, through intensive work on largescale projects during his work with Arata Isozaki (Tokyo), Kliment-Halsband Architects (New York) and others. He leads a team of multi-disciplinary consultants for expanding the limits of the science behind mobility engineering dynamics on every scale, Regional, National, Urban, etc.


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How to Cite
Gorrini, A., Messa, F., Ceccarelli, G., & Choubassi, R. (2021). Covid-19 pandemic and activity patterns in Milan. Wi-Fi sensors and location-based data. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 14(2), 211-226.