A Haredi, an Arab and a religious/secular person leave their house in Jerusalem one morning. Where are they going? No, this is not the start of a joke, but rather a study conducted recently by the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research, examining the destinations that Jerusalemites travel to during the weekday morning rush hour between 6 AM and 9 AM.

Analysis of vehicular mobility data (based on Ministry of Transportation cellphone records from 2018-2019) indicates some interesting results that could point to the habits of the different populations in the city and the characteristics of employment districts.

From a birds-eye view, it turns out that the large majority (84%) of travel of Jerusalem residents (with a Jerusalem-based starting point), remains within the city itself, while 10% moves from Jerusalem to other towns within the metropolis. Naturally, most travel at these hours is to the main employment districts in the city.

But analysis by neighborhood demographics sketches an interesting picture, which is similar for the three main sectors of the city. In Jerusalem’s Haredi neighborhoods, residents traveled in the morning primarily to other Haredi neighborhoods (38% of trips). Another 18% of the trips were to religious/secular neighborhoods, and 17% to employment districts. 

This feature is also seen among Arab and religious/secular residents of the city. In the morning hours, 32% of Arab neighborhood residents left to other Arab neighborhoods, 18% went to employment districts and other areas, 17% went to religious and secular neighborhoods, and another 14% to Haredi neighborhoods. The most common destinations for Arab neighborhood residents were the Old City quarters and the Talpiot industrial zone, Bab a-Zahara, Musrara and Nahalat Shiva, Kiryat HaLeom (the National Quarter) and the Givat Shaul industrial zone.

In the religious/secular neighborhoods, 36% of residents leaving in the morning were found to have traveled to other religious/secular neighborhoods. Another 24% of the trips were to employment districts and other areas, and 19% to Haredi neighborhoods. The most common destinations were Kiryat HaLeom (7%), Musrara and Nahalat Shiva and the Talpiot industrial zone (5%) and the Givat Shaul industrial zone and Nahlaot (4%).

The conclusion drawn from this data is that the different communities travel primarily within “their own” spaces and neighborhoods or ones similar to theirs, but they also form shared spaces of encounter in employment districts and in neighborhoods of other communities. For example, the Arab community does in fact travel in the morning rush hour to Arab neighborhoods and within them for 32% of all travel from there; in parallel, however, 50% of trips are to the areas of other communities, such as Haredi or religious/secular neighborhoods and other employment districts. These could create an opportunity of intersectoral encounters in the city and encourage positive dialogue of shared lives.

Source: Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research analysis of traveler survey by cellphone data from the Ministry of Transportation