Why we go where when we do

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By Roger Snodgrass

Knowing where people are likely to be at a given time may be nearly as valuable and far easier to figure than knowing where they are.

Geographer Kriste Henson, working on a doctorate from the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been awarded three prestigious grants and fellowships worth more than $46,000 to create a template for the movements of individuals according to common profiles and patterns.

“Once you have their travel patterns, you can look at all sorts of different problems,” she said in an interview Tuesday.

The grants will enable her to develop her dissertation while continuing to work part time in the Decision Applications Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory, which has provided significant support for her advanced studies and her current project.

“A lot of people think, ‘My city is unique, and no one can match it,’” Henson said in a telephone interview, noting that others saw relationships that were similar across many populations.

The question she posed was, “If so, what influences their travel?”

Describing individual movements within populations has been addressed mainly by household travel surveys.

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