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Cities as Organisms: Allometric Scaling of Urban Road Networks

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  • Samaniego, Horacio

    ()
    (Department of Computer Science, University of New Mexico)

  • Moses, Melanie E.

    (University of New Mexico)

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    Abstract

    We propose a statistical approach to determine the features of urban road networks affecting accessibility. Our approach is inspired by metabolic scaling theory (MST) in biology (West et al. 1997). We study the structure of road networks across 425 cities of different sizes in the USA. We show decentralization as an important difference between urban road networks and biological vascular networks. Per capita road capacity is independent of the spatial extent of cities. Driving distances do depend on the size of the city, although not as much as is predicted by a completely centralized model. This intermediate pattern between centralized and decentralized extremes may reflect a mixture of different travel behaviors. The approach presented here offers a novel macroscopic perspective on the differences between small and large cities and on how the road infrastructure and traffic might change as cities grow.

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    File URL: http://www.jtlu.org/index.php/jtlu/article/view/29/20
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota in its journal The Journal of Tranport and Land Use.

    Volume (Year): 1 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 21-39

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    Handle: RePEc:ris:jtralu:0004

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    Web page: http://www.jtlu.org/index.php/jtlu
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    Related research

    Keywords: Road Networks; Urban Allometry; Urban Metabolism;

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    Cited by:
    1. David Levinson, 2011. "Network Structure and City Size," Working Papers 000094, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
    2. Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Strulik, Holger, 2011. "Energy distribution and economic growth," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 782-797.
    3. Watanabe, Hayafumi & Takayasu, Hideki & Takayasu, Misako, 2013. "Relations between allometric scalings and fluctuations in complex systems: The case of Japanese firms," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 392(4), pages 741-756.
    4. Levinson, David & El-Geneidy, Ahmed, 2009. "The minimum circuity frontier and the journey to work," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 732-738, November.

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