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The scaling structure of the global road network

Strano, Emanuele and Giometto, Andrea and Shai, Saray and Bertuzzo, Enrico and Mucha, Peter J. and Rinaldo, Andrea (2017) The scaling structure of the global road network. Royal Society Open Science, 4 (10), pp. 1-11. The Royal Society. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.170590 ISSN 2054-5703

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Official URL: http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/4/10/170590


Because of increasing global urbanization and its immediate consequences, including changes in patterns of food demand, circulation and land use, the next century will witness a major increase in the extent of paved roads built worldwide. To model the effects of this increase, it is crucial to understand whether possible self-organized patterns are inherent in the global road network structure. Here, we use the largest updated database comprising all major roads on the Earth, together with global urban and cropland inventories, to suggest that road length distributions within croplands are indistinguishable from urban ones, once rescaled to account for the difference in mean road length. Such similarity extends to road length distributions within urban or agricultural domains of a given area. We find two distinct regimes for the scaling of the mean road length with the associated area, holding in general at small and at large values of the latter. In suitably large urban and cropland domains, we find that mean and total road lengths increase linearly with their domain area, differently from earlier suggestions. Scaling regimes suggest that simple and universal mechanisms regulate urban and cropland road expansion at the global scale. As such, our findings bear implications for global road infrastructure growth based on land-use change and for planning policies sustaining urban expansions.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/118108/
Document Type:Article
Title:The scaling structure of the global road network
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Strano, EmanueleDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)UNSPECIFIED
Giometto, AndreaDepartment of Physics, Harvard University, CambridgeUNSPECIFIED
Shai, SarayDepartment of Mathematics, University of North CarolinaUNSPECIFIED
Bertuzzo, EnricoDepartment of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and StatisticsUNSPECIFIED
Mucha, Peter J.Department of Mathematics, University of North CarolinaUNSPECIFIED
Rinaldo, AndreaLaboratory of Ecohydrology, École Polytechnique Fédérale Lausanne (EPFL),UNSPECIFIED
Date:October 2017
Journal or Publication Title:Royal Society Open Science
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.1098/rsos.170590
Page Range:pp. 1-11
Publisher:The Royal Society
Series Name:Open Science
Keywords:road network
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Earth Observation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EO - Erdbeobachtung
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Remote sensing and geoscience
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:German Remote Sensing Data Center > Land Surface
Deposited By: Zeidler, Julian
Deposited On:05 Feb 2018 15:02
Last Modified:07 Nov 2018 12:11

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