Urban road networks – spatial networks with universal geometric features?
A case study on Germany’s largest cities
Institute for Transport and Economics, Dresden University of
Technology, Würzburger Str.
2 Department of Physics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong
3 Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, P.O. Box 60 12 03, 14412 Potsdam, Germany
a e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received in final form: 17 February 2011
Published online: 4 April 2011
Urban road networks have distinct geometric properties that are partially determined by their (quasi-) two-dimensional structure. In this work, we study these properties for 20 of the largest German cities. We find that the small-scale geometry of all examined road networks is extremely similar. The object-size distributions of road segments and the resulting cellular structures are characterised by heavy tails. As a specific feature, a large degree of rectangularity is observed in all networks, with link angle distributions approximately described by stretched exponential functions. We present a rigorous statistical analysis of the main geometric characteristics and discuss their mutual interrelationships. Our results demonstrate the fundamental importance of cost-efficiency constraints for the time evolution of urban road networks.
© 2011 EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag