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Cellphone Data Reveals Hurricane Maria's Impact on Travel in Puerto Rico


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A U.S. Naval Aircrewman leads residents of Puerto Rico to a helicopter for evacuation following the landfall of Hurricane Maria.

Research collaborators from the Boston Children's Hospital Computational Epidemiology Group, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, and Google are working to determine when people chose to move out of the path of Hurricane Maria and how much travel has been hindered since destructive winds and flooding knocked Puerto Rico off the grid.

Credit: Sean Galbreath/Wiki Commons

Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital Computational Epidemiology Group, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, and Google have detailed when people chose to move out of a hurricane's path and how much travel has been hindered by destructive winds and flooding following Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

The researchers used an aggregate of real-time anonymous data compiled by Google location services to learn that travel off the island rose 20% the day before the hurricane hit.

In addition, there was an influx of travel into San Juan as people sought shelter from the storm.

The researchers studied people's movements by analyzing the anonymous data from mobile users who had opted-in to share their Google location data in their phone settings.

The study also showed that a large percentage of those leaving Puerto Rico often went to Orlando, Miami, New York, and Atlanta.

The analysis also revealed that Puerto Ricans have been about half as mobile as usual since the storm.

From Phys.org
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Abstracts Copyright © 2017 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


 

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