Commuting in metapopulation epidemic modeling

Azi Lipshtat, Roger Alimi, Yochai Ben-Horin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The COVID-19 pandemic led authorities all over the world to imposing travel restrictions both on a national and on an international scale. Understanding the effect of such restrictions requires analysis of the role of commuting and calls for a metapopulation modeling that incorporates both local, intra-community infection and population exchange between different locations. Standard metapopulation models are formulated as markovian processes, and as such they do not label individuals according to their original location. However, commuting from home to work and backwards (reverse commuting) is the main pattern of transportation. Thus, it is important to be able to accurately model the effect of commuting on epidemic spreading. In this study we develop a methodology for modeling bidirectional commuting of individuals, without keeping track of each individual separately and with no need of proliferation of number of compartments beyond those defined by the epidemiologic model. We demonstrate the method using a city map of the state of Israel. The presented algorithm does not require any special computation resources and it may serve as a basis for intervention strategy examination in various levels of complication and resolution. We show how to incorporate an epidemiological model into a metapopulation commuting scheme while preserving the internal logic of the epidemiological modeling. The method is general and independent on the details of the epidemiological model under consideration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15198
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


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