IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Trends in Metropolitan Network Circuity


  • David Giacomin
  • Luke James
  • David Levinson

    () (Nexus (Networks, Economics, and Urban Systems) Research Group, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota)


Because people seek to minimize their time and travel distance (or cost) when commuting, the circuity–the ratio of network distance traveled to the Euclidean distance between two points–plays an intricate role in the metropolitan economy. This paper seeks to measure the circuity of the United States’ 51 most populated Metropolitan Statistical Areas and identify trends in those circuities over the time period from 1990- 2010. With many factors playing a role such as suburban development and varying economic trends in metropolitan areas over this timeframe, much is to consider when calculating results. In general, circuity is increasing over time.

Suggested Citation

  • David Giacomin & Luke James & David Levinson, 2012. "Trends in Metropolitan Network Circuity," Working Papers 000106, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:nex:wpaper:circuitytrends

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Second version, 2015
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Peter Mieszkowski & Edwin S. Mills, 1993. "The Causes of Metropolitan Suburbanization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 135-147, Summer.
    2. Pavithra Parthasarathi & Hartwig Hochmair & David Levinson, 2010. "Network Structure and Activity Spaces," Working Papers 000080, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
    3. Nathaniel Baum-Snow, 2007. "Did Highways Cause Suburbanization?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 775-805.
    4. Popken, Douglas A., 2006. "Controlling order circuity in pickup and delivery problems," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(5), pages 431-443, September.
    5. Thurston Lawrence & Yezer Anthony M. J., 1994. "Causality in the Suburbanization of Population and Employment," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 105-118, January.
    6. Ballou, Ronald H. & Rahardja, Handoko & Sakai, Noriaki, 2002. "Selected country circuity factors for road travel distance estimation," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 843-848, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    network circuity; directness; travel behavior; metropolitan comparisons;

    JEL classification:

    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • R42 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government and Private Investment Analysis; Road Maintenance; Transportation Planning
    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures
    • L91 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Transportation: General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nex:wpaper:circuitytrends. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David Levinson). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.