Publication Date


Document Type


Publication Title

ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information








The Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Origin-Destination Employment Statistics (LODES) are an important city planning resource in the USA. However, curating these statistics is resource-intensive, and their accuracy deteriorates when changes in population and urban structures lead to shifts in commuter patterns. Our study area is the San Francisco Bay area, and it has seen rapid population growth over the past years, which makes frequent updates to LODES or the availability of an appropriate substitute desirable. In this paper, we derive mobility flows from a set of over 40 million georeferenced tweets of the study area and compare them with LODES data. These tweets are publicly available and offer fine spatial and temporal resolution. Based on an exploratory analysis of the Twitter data, we pose research questions addressing different aspects of the integration of LODES and Twitter data. Furthermore, we develop methods for their comparative analysis on different spatial scales: at the county, census tract, census block, and individual street segment level. We thereby show that Twitter data can be used to approximate LODES on the county level and on the street segment level, but it also contains information about non-commuting-related regular travel. Leveraging Twitter’s high temporal resolution, we also show how factors like rush hour times and weekends impact mobility. We discuss the merits and shortcomings of the different methods for use in urban planning and close with directions for future research avenues.

Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

Austrian Science Fund


Collective movement, Commuter mobility, Twitter mobility, Urban planning

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Urban and Regional Planning