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The evolution of the commuting network in Germany: Spatial and connectivity patterns


  • Patuelli, Roberto

    () (University of Lugano and The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, Switzerland; Netherlands)

  • Reggiani, Aura

    (University of Bologna; Italy)

  • Nijkamp, Peter

    (VU University Amsterdam; Netherlands)

  • Bade, Franz-Josef

    (University of Dortmund; Germany)


The analysis of the structure and evolution of complex networks has recently received considerable attention. Although research on networks originated in mathematical studies dating back to the nineteenth century (or earlier), and developed further in the mid-twentieth century with contributions to graph theory, interest in its application to the social sciences is currently growing---particularly in regional science and transportation, because of the spatial relevance of networks. This paper presents a dynamic outlook for the German commuting network from the perspective of the German labor market districts. The focus of this paper is to explore how the German commuting network evolves, from two perspectives: space and connectivity. We consider home-to-work commuters moving between 439 German districts for the years 1995 and 2005. The results of the present analysis make it possible to identify, among the main German districts, the most “open” and connected ones. These emerging districts can be considered as potential “hubs” in the German commuting system---that is, as attractors from the perspective of spatial economics, and as interconnectors from the perspective of networking.

Suggested Citation

  • Patuelli, Roberto & Reggiani, Aura & Nijkamp, Peter & Bade, Franz-Josef, 2010. "The evolution of the commuting network in Germany: Spatial and connectivity patterns," The Journal of Transport and Land Use, Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, vol. 2(3), pages 5-37.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:jtralu:0037

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Aura Reggiani & Pietro Bucci & Giovanni Russo, 2011. "Accessibility and Network Structures in the German Commuting," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 621-641, December.
    2. Kok, Suzanne, 2014. "Town and city jobs: How your job is different in another location," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 58-67.
    3. Parthasarathi, Pavithra, 2014. "Network structure and metropolitan mobility," The Journal of Transport and Land Use, Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, vol. 7(2), pages 153-168.
    4. Mengying Cui & David Levinson, 2015. "Accessibility and the Ring of Unreliability," Working Papers 000133, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.

    More about this item


    complex networks; commuting; evolution; dynamics; German districts;

    JEL classification:

    • R40 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - General


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