Mobility Behaviors Shift Disparity in Flood Exposure in U.S. Population Groups

by   Bo Li, et al.

Current characterization of flood exposure is largely based on residential location of populations; however, location of residence only partially captures the extent to which populations are exposed to flood. An important, though yet under-recognized aspect of flood exposure is associated with human mobility patterns and population visitation to places located in flood prone areas. This study analyzed large-scale, high-resolution location-intelligence data to characterize human mobility patterns and the resulting flood exposure in counties of the United States. We developed the metric of mobility-based exposure based on dwell time in places located in the 100-year floodplain. The results of examining the extent of mobility-based flood exposure reveal a significant disparity across race, income , and education level groups. Black and Asian, economically disadvantaged, and undereducated populations are disproportionally exposed to flood due to their daily mobility activities, indicating a pattern contrary to residential flood exposure. The results suggest that mobility behaviors play an important role in extending flood exposure reach disproportionally among socio-demographic groups. Mobility-based flood exposure provides a new perspective regarding the extent to which floods could disrupt people's life activities and enables a better characterization of disparity in populations' exposure to flood hazards beyond their place of residence.


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