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Spatial analysis and modeling of urban transportation networks
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Geoinformatics.
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Transport systems in general, and urban transportation systems in particular, are the backbone of a country or a city, therefore play an intrinsic role in the socio-economic development. There have been numerous studies on real transportation systems from multiple fileds, including geography, urban planning, and engineering. Geographers have extensively investigated transportation systems, and transport geography has developed as an important branch of geography with various studies on system structure, efficiency optimization, and flow distribution. However, the emergence of complex network theory provided a brand-new perspective for geographers and other researchers; therefore, it invoked more widespread interest in exploring transportation systems that present a typical node-link network structure. This trend inspires the author and, to a large extent, constitutes the motivation of this thesis.

 

The overall objective of this thesis is to study and simulate the structure and dynamics of urban transportation systems, including aviation systems and ground transportation systems. More specificically, topological features, geometric properties, and dynamic evolution processes are explored and discussed in this thesis. To illustrate different construction mechanisms, as well as distinct evolving backgrounds of aviation systems and ground systems, China’s aviation network, U.S. airline network, Stockholm’s street network, Toronto’s street network, and Nanjing’s street network are respectively studied and compared.

 

Considering the existence of numerous studies, a clear and comprehensive literature review in this field is presented as the first step. Most studies on transport systems from the complex network perspective published within the last decade are reviewed and summarized. It is found that a majority of the studies focused on topological features of transportation systems, however geometric properties have not earned sufficient attention. On the other hand, since there is a long history of transportation systems and limited availability of related data, it is difficult for researchers to develop empirical evolution analyses on real transportation systems; instead, computer simulations based on mathematical reasoning are considered as the most widely used way to depict evolution features of transport systems. These findings lay the foundation of the author’s thesis research.

 

In this thesis, most network features, including both local and global measures, such as centrality, clustering, and efficiency, are respectively discussed in terms of aviation systems and urban street networks. Although transportation systems are affected by various factors, they do present a small-world structure and a double Pareto distribution regardless of sizes and socio-economic states. A hierarchical structure is also detected for aviation systems of China and the US.

To study the geometric properties, the famous gravity model is introduced to detect the distance effect in aviation systems. It is found that a logarithmic hyperbolic model can better depict the distance decay effect than a power law model. In addition, the distribution patterns of the spatial distance of aviation systems and ground systems are explained. Spatial patterns of street networks in different urban development schemes are discussed and compared as well. Self-organized cities show more heterogeneity in both measures. In comparison, Toronto presents a single peak distribution for the cell area. The distribution of closeness centrality, which is regarded as a measure of accessibility, clearly depicts that the strictly planned city is better accessed from the overall perspective.

 

A static perspective is far from enough to understand and model transportation systems. The evolution process is an essential supplement to depict underlying features of complex systems. To further study network growth modeling, a model for the evolution of aviation systems is proposed. Both topological and geometric features are examined in the evolution process. The model suggests that the bigger the weight coefficient is, the slower the network efficiency decreases. The empirical analysis about the U.S. airline network during 1990–2010 is also developed to validate this model.

 

The main contributions of this thesis can be summarized as follows. First, it provides a comprehensive review of complex network topology of transportation systems for researchers from different backgrounds. It not only lists the research results from various subjects, but it also bridges and compares the results from different viewpoints and angles, which is necessary to explore this interdisciplinary topic. Moreover, a spatial perspective constitutes the main focus of this thesis, trying to bridge the traditional geographic analysis and complex network theory. Lastly, empirical analyses are developed to explore the evolving process of transportation systems, providing a valuable baseline for theoretical simulations in this field. However, as mentioned above, the spatial structures are preliminarily explored in this work, and more efforts are expected in the near future. On the other hand, this work is generally driven by data analysis and computer simulation. Although these approaches are effective to analyze and model transportation systems, more real-world factors, such as urban development variables and spatial constraints, should be considered in further studies from a geographic perspective.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2017. , p. 77
Series
TRITA-SOM, ISSN 1653-6126 ; 2017:15
Keywords [en]
Complex networks, transportation systems, network growth, Evolving networks, centrality, urban systems, topology, space syntax, spatial networks, distance effects, gravity laws, planarity, street network patterns, US airline system, China’s aviation system, network efficiency, cellular structure, hierarchy, network representations
National Category
Transport Systems and Logistics
Research subject
Geodesy and Geoinformatics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-218088ISBN: 978-91-7729-613-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-218088DiVA, id: diva2:1159523
Public defence
2017-12-13, E36, Lindstedtsvägen 3, E-huset, KTH, Stockholm, 09:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20171123

Available from: 2017-11-23 Created: 2017-11-22 Last updated: 2018-02-16Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Comparative Analysis on Topological Structures of Urban Street Networks
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Comparative Analysis on Topological Structures of Urban Street Networks
2017 (English)In: ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, ISSN 2220-9964, Vol. 6, no 10, article id 295Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Street systems are the backbone of cities. With global urbanization and economic development, street systems have undergone significant development along with the growth of cities. In this paper, the authors select three cities with varying sizes, histories, locations, and growth dynamics: Stockholm, Toronto, and Nanjing. We analyze topological structures of their public street systems based on GIS and complex network theory. Considering the planarity of street systems, we first calculate various topological measures, including , , and indices, and density. This is followed by comparing three centrality measures, i.e., degree, betweenness, and closeness in complex network theory. In this part, we investigate these characteristics of nodes and edges in a primal representation, and discuss their relations with urban growth mechanisms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI AG, 2017
Keywords
centrality, urban street, representation, topology, complex network
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-217947 (URN)10.3390/ijgi6100295 (DOI)000414627100005 ()2-s2.0-85044774250 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20171121

Available from: 2017-11-21 Created: 2017-11-21 Last updated: 2018-02-15Bibliographically approved
2. The evolving network structure of US airline system during 1990–2010
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The evolving network structure of US airline system during 1990–2010
2014 (English)In: Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, ISSN 0378-4371, E-ISSN 1873-2119, Vol. 410, p. 302-312Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper analyzes the growth and evolution of topological features of the US airline network over a 20-year period. It captures the change in the network system from different dimensions of complex networks such as centrality distribution and various structural properties of the network over time. We first illustrate the results of a set of measures, including degree, strength, betweenness centrality, and clustering structure. The geographic features of airport systems, spatial distance and network efficiency are also discussed in this section. In order to further capture the dynamics of the system, this paper also explores the correlation between different measures, and investigates various interactions inside the network. Overall this study offers a novel approach to understanding the growth and evolution of real physical networks.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2014
Keywords
Complex network, Evolution, Centrality, Efficiency, US airline system
National Category
Transport Systems and Logistics Transport Systems and Logistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-218083 (URN)10.1016/j.physa.2014.05.040 (DOI)000339532900031 ()2-s2.0-84901916893 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20171123

Available from: 2017-11-22 Created: 2017-11-22 Last updated: 2018-02-15Bibliographically approved
3. Complex Network Topology of Transportation Systems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Complex Network Topology of Transportation Systems
2013 (English)In: Transport reviews, ISSN 0144-1647, E-ISSN 1464-5327, Vol. 33, no 6, p. 658-685Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

As a strategic factor for a country to survive in the global competition, transportation systems have attracted extensive attention from different disciplines for a long time. Since the introduction of complex network theory in the last decade, however, studies on transport systems have witnessed dramatic progress. Most roads, streets, and rails are organized as a network pattern, while link flows, travel time, or geographical distance are regarded as weights. In this article, the authors will present the current state of topological research on transportation systems under a complex network framework, as well as the efforts and challenges that have been made in the last decade. First, different kinds of transportation systems should be generalized as networks in different ways, which will be explained in the first part of this paper. We follow this by summarizing network measures that describe topological characteristics of transportation networks. Then we discuss the empirical observations from the last decade on real transportation systems at a variety of spatial scales. This paper concludes with some important challenges and open research frontiers in this field.

Keywords
complex network, transportation, review, topology, urban systems
National Category
Other Civil Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-138374 (URN)10.1080/01441647.2013.848955 (DOI)000327422100003 ()2-s2.0-84889668711 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20131220

Available from: 2013-12-20 Created: 2013-12-19 Last updated: 2018-02-15Bibliographically approved
4. Network analysis of China's aviation system, statistical and spatial structure
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Network analysis of China's aviation system, statistical and spatial structure
2012 (English)In: Journal of Transport Geography, ISSN 0966-6923, E-ISSN 1873-1236, Vol. 22, p. 109-117Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aviation systems are less geographically constrained compared to ground transportation because their routes are not so affected by geographical conditions. For this reason, aviation systems are endowed to some extent with a distinctive network topology and spatial pattern. In this article, the statistical features of China’s aviation system (CAS) are investigated through a complex network approach by examining weekly flight patterns. The correlation study proves the existence of a spatial hierarchical structure within China’s aviation network, which implies a more complex spatial mechanism. Subsequently the spatial structure of CAS is explored based on the flight distances between airport cities. In light of three measurements of node strength, population and GDP, It has been decided that the spatial effect of China’s aviation system should be analyzed separately in term of different distance scales. Only for medium- and long-distance travel, the flight patterns conform to a gravitation law; therefore, the distance dependence function can be generalized as a scaling relationship. In summary, from a complex network angle, this paper provides preliminary but enlightening insights to understanding the unique spatial mechanism of aviation systems.

Keywords
Complex network, Transportation, Spatial distance, Gravitation law, China
National Category
Transport Systems and Logistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-89486 (URN)10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2011.12.002 (DOI)000304792500012 ()2-s2.0-84862793404 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20120628

Available from: 2012-02-14 Created: 2012-02-14 Last updated: 2018-02-15Bibliographically approved

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