Complex Systems

Spatial Signatures of Road Network Growth for Different Levels of Global Planning Download PDF

Michelle T. Cirunay
Rene C. Batac

Physics Department, College of Science
De La Salle University
2401 Taft Avenue
Manila, Philippines


We compare the statistical distributions of the geometrical properties of road networks for two representative datasets under different levels of planning: the cities comprising Metropolitan Manila show the conditions under bottom-up self-organized growth, while Brasilia and the Australian Capital Territory centered at Canberra represent the case of strict top-down planning. The distribution of segmented areas of the cities shows a dual power-law behavior, with the larger areas following the ∼1.9 scaling exponent observed in other cities, while the smaller areas show a lower exponent of ∼0.5, believed to be due to practical considerations. While all cities are found to favor the formation of straight road segments, the planned city roads have a preponderance of sinuous roads, with sinuosities approaching π. A simple model based on a nearest-neighbor directed branching coupled with sectional grid formations is proposed to capture the nontrivial statistical features observed.

Keywords: cities; scaling phenomena; self-organization; computational techniques; rule-based models

Cite this publication as:
M. T. Cirunay and R. C. Batac, “Spatial Signatures of Road Network Growth for Different Levels of Global Planning,”  Complex Systems, 30(3), 2021 pp. 273–296.