Emergence of spatial transitions in urban congestion dynamics

8 Mar 2021  ·  Aniello Lampo, Javier Borge-Holthoefer, Sergio Gómez, Albert Solé-Ribalta ·

The quantitative study of traffic dynamics is crucial to ensure the efficiency of urban transportation networks. The current work investigates the spatial properties of congestion, that is, we aim to characterize the city areas where traffic bottlenecks occur... The analysis of a large amount of real road networks in previous works showed that congestion points experience spatial abrupt transitions, namely they shift away from the city center as larger urban areas are incorporated. The fundamental ingredient behind this effect is the entanglement of central and arterial roads, embedded in separated geographical regions. In this paper we extend the analysis of the conditions yielding abrupt transitions of congestion location. First, we look into the more realistic situation in which arterial and central roads, rather than lying on sharply separated regions, present spatial overlap. It results that this affects the position of bottlenecks and introduces new possible congestion areas. Secondly, we pay particular attention to the role played by the edge distribution, proving that it allows to smooth the transitions profile, and so to control the congestion displacement. Finally, we show that the aforementioned phenomenology may be recovered also as a consequence of a discontinuity in the nodes density, in a domain with uniform connectivity. Our results provide useful insights for the design and optimization of urban road networks, and the management of the daily traffic. read more

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Physics and Society Adaptation and Self-Organizing Systems