Cell phone usage patterns reveal party animals of Latvia

In big Latvian cities, people are more active during the work week, but towns like Rucava see flashes of activity only on weekends, according to research measuring texting and phone call activity in Latvia.

The research used data over the number of texts sent and calls made via LMT cell towers across Latvia and compared activity between weekdays and weekends.

Gundars Bērziņš, one of the researchers involved, told Latvian Radio that the data can be acquired quickly - with a week's delay - and that it easily shows how activity changes over time.

The research divided Latvian regions into several groups, according to patterns of activity.

  • Workaholics - Rīga, Jelgava, Valmiera and other cities where activity is much greater on weekdays.
  • Harmonic - regions that see similar levels of activity throughout the week. These include Ventspils in Latvia's west.
  • Moderate - places where activity is low consistently.
  • Vacationers - places like Jūrmala where activities are consistently higher on weekends.
  • Party animals - low activity on weekdays and very high activity on weekends. Places where people "go to sleep and spend their vacation". These include the towns of Saulkrasti and Rucava. 

The data can be used to find out which roads could be researched first, where to invest and where to develop tourism, Bērziņš ventures to suggest.

Bērziņš suggests that "individual strategies should be worked out for each region", and says that in mid-2018 further research will be published, looking at the dynamics of the activity they're monitoring. 

The research, The Regional Development Index of Latvia's Regions, was carried out by the Gundars Bērziņš, head of the University of Latvia Faculty of Business, Management and Economics, as well as the faculty's professor Irina Arhipova and researcher Aldis Ērglis, along with Juris Binde, the head of the national LMT telecoms company.

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