Measuring the Structure of Road Networks

Geographical Analysis, Vol. 39, No. 3, pp.336-356, 2006

31 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2008

See all articles by Feng Xie

Feng Xie

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

David Matthew Levinson

affiliation not provided to SSRN


Spatial networks display both topologic and geometric variations in their structure. This study investigates the measurement of road network structure. Existing measures of heterogeneity, connectivity, accessibility, and interconnectivity are reviewed and three supplemental measures are proposed, including measures of entropy, connection patterns, and continuity. Proposed measures were applied to 16 test networks, which were derived from 4 idealized base networks: 90-degree, 45-degree, 30-degree, and completely connected. The results show that the differentiated structures of road networks can be evaluated by the measure of entropy; predefined connection patterns of arterial roads can be identified and quantified by the measures of ringness, webness, beltness, circuitness, and treeness. A measure of continuity evaluates the quality of a network from the perspective of travelers. Proposed measures could be used to describe the structural attributes of complicated road networks quantitatively, to compare different network structures, and to explore the structural evolution of networks in the spatial and temporal context. These measures can find their applications in urban planning and transportation practice.

Keywords: Networks, Transportation, Structure, Entropy, Pattern, Continuity

Suggested Citation

Xie, Feng and Levinson, David Matthew, Measuring the Structure of Road Networks. Available at SSRN:

Feng Xie (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities ( email )

420 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

David Matthew Levinson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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