A case for location based contact tracing

Atul Pokharel, Robert Soulé, Avi Silberschatz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present an evaluation of the effectiveness of manual contact tracing compared to bulletin board contact tracing. Classical contact tracing relies on reaching individuals who have been in proximity to an infectious person. A bulletin board approach focuses on identifying locations visited by an infectious person, and then contacting those who were at those locations. We present results comparing their effects on the overall reproductive number as well as the incidence and prevalence of disease. We evaluate them by building a new agent based simulation (ABS) model using the Susceptible Exposed Infectious and Recovered (SEIR) framework for disease spread. We conduct simulation experiments to quantify the effectiveness of these two models of contact tracing by calibrating the model to be compatible with SARS-CoV-2. We find that bulletin board contact tracing gives comparable results in terms of the reproductive number, duration, prevalence and incidence but is less resource intensive, easier to implement and offers a wider range of privacy options. Our experiments show that location-based bulletin board contact tracing can improve manual contact tracing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)420-438
Number of pages19
JournalHealth Care Management Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Agent based simulation
  • Bulletin board
  • Contact tracing
  • Covid-19

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Health Professions


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