, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 65–79 | Cite as

Measuring dissimilarity of geographically dispersed space–time paths

  • Marlies Vanhulsel
  • Carolien Beckx
  • Davy Janssens
  • Koen Vanhoof
  • Geert Wets


In activity-travel analysis, sequences are analysed both in space and time. From this perspective, sequence alignment methods (SAM) are used to value the dissimilarity of sequences. However, only a limited number of research efforts account for spatial characteristics of activity-travel sequences. Additionally, the existing techniques considering spatial characteristics are mainly suited to compare sequences within a small study area. Therefore, the present research re-designs a multidimensional dissimilarity measure which enables identifying dissimilarities between sequences which are geographically dispersed. This technique includes transforming the geographical coordinates of activity locations to Angle/Arc Length (AAL)-trajectories to capture the relative geographical movements within each sequence. These AAL-trajectories form the basis of the subsequent multidimensional sequence alignment analysis aimed at estimating the dissimilarity between activity-travel sequences. This approach proves to compare activity-travel sequences based on the relative positions of the activity locations within sequences, rather than founded on the distances between the absolute geographical locations, as is the case in the traditional sequence alignment methods.


Activity-travel sequences Sequence alignment method Spatio-temporal analysis Geographical movement 



The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments, which allowed substantially improving the quality of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marlies Vanhulsel
    • 1
  • Carolien Beckx
    • 1
  • Davy Janssens
    • 2
  • Koen Vanhoof
    • 2
  • Geert Wets
    • 2
  1. 1.Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO)Antwerp, MolBelgium
  2. 2.Transportation Research Institute (IMOB), Hasselt UniversityHasseltBelgium

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