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The Structure of Interurban Traffic: A Weighted Network Analysis

Andrea De Montis, Marc Barthélemy, Alessandro Chessa and Alessandro Vespignani
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Andrea De Montis: Dipartimento di Ingegneria del Territorio, Sezione Construzioni e Infrastrutture, Universita degli Studi di Sassari, Via De Nicola, 07100 Sassari, Italy
Marc Barthélemy: School of Informatics, Center for Biocomplexity and Department of Physics, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA
Alessandro Chessa: Dipartimento di Fisica, Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Cittadella Universitaria di Monserrato, 09042 Monserrato, Italy
Alessandro Vespignani: School of Informatics, Center for Biocomplexity and Department of Physics, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47408, USA

Environment and Planning B, 2007, vol. 34, issue 5, 905-924

Abstract: We study the structure of the network representing the interurban commuting traffic of the Sardinia region, Italy, which amounts to 375 municipalities and 1600 000 inhabitants. We use a weighted network representation in which vertices correspond to towns and the edges correspond to the actual commuting flows among those towns. We characterize quantitatively both the topological and weighted properties of the resulting network. Interestingly, the statistical properties of the commuting traffic exhibit complex features and nontrivial relations with the underlying topology. We characterize quantitatively the traffic backbone among large cities and we give evidence for a very high heterogeneity of the commuter flows around large cities. We also discuss the interplay between the topological and dynamical properties of the network as well as their relation with sociodemographic variables such as population and monthly income. This analysis may be useful at various stages in environmental planning and provides analytical tools for a wide spectrum of applications ranging from impact evaluation to decision making and planning support.

Date: 2007
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