Masters candidate in Biostatistics, Benjamin Mayhew, will present:
“Happy Roads: Estimating the Impact on Mood of Travel Routes Through a City Road Network”
Plan B Adviser: Julian Wolfson
Abstract: Research in environmental psychology has established the affective and cognitive benefits of exposure to natural environments over built environments. With 68% of the world’s population projected to live in cities by 2050, research is needed to discern the specific factors that cause built environments in cities to have such relative negative impacts on well-being. The use of smartphones and wearable technology has opened new opportunities in recent years to collect and analyze data for this goal. ‘Space syntax’ is a theoretical framework in urban planning in which, to understand human response, built environments are discretized into components described only by their connections and simple geometric properties. In this project, the Minneapolis road network is discretized in such a way into a set of road segments, to which mood survey data and timestamped GPS readings collected from Twin Cities residents through the Daynamica smartphone app as part of the Neighborhood Environment, Daily Activities, and Well-Being Study are associated. Mood ratings are modeled using linear regression with an elastic net penalty applied to select the most impactful among 9064 main road segments. An attempt is made to control for individual differences in mood and the impact of the activities preceding and following each car trip. Mapping the results reveals spatial and network-based trends in the estimated mood impacts of roads. Methods to combine the road segments into larger-scale components including spectral clustering are also explored, and future routes to improve the validity of the model are discussed.
Refreshments will be served prior to the presentation.