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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2015 Dec;92(6):062815. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevE.92.062815. Epub 2015 Dec 11.

Universal bursty behavior in the air transportation system.

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Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan.
Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8904, Japan.


Social activities display bursty behavior characterized by heavy-tailed interevent time distributions. We examine the bursty behavior of airplanes' arrivals in hub airports. The analysis indicates that the air transportation system universally follows a power-law interarrival time distribution with an exponent α=2.5 and an exponential cutoff. Moreover, we investigate the mechanism of this bursty behavior by introducing a simple model to describe it. In addition, we compare the extent of the hub-and-spoke structure and the burstiness of various airline networks in the system. Remarkably, the results suggest that the hub-and-spoke network of the system and the carriers' strategy to facilitate transit are the origins of this universality.


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