Comparison of shortest and fastest routes through cities reveals a structural typology of city development

Much is known about the geometry of road networks within cities, and how these vary with city size and level of economic development. Less is known about how these structures influence the flows of people and activity within cities, and how that activity in turn feeds back to shape road network geometry. This paper studies data on road network geometry and road use and congestion from 92 cities, and finds that cities cluster into three distinct types reflecting different stages of centralisation. The authors (including LML External Fellow Hyejin Youn) introduce a simple geometric measure – “inness” – which reveals a directional bias as forces resulting from congestion, accessibility, and travel demand bend the fastest routes inward or outward from the city centre.
Paper – 02374-7

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