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Self-Organization of Surface Transportation Networks

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Document pages: 30 pages

Abstract: This research investigates the self-organization of surface transportation networks. Using a travel demand model coupled with revenue, cost, and investment models, experiments are run under a variety of parameters on a grid network. It is found that roads, contiguous sections of multiple links operating with similar characteristics, and hierarchies of roads emerge under a broad range of assumptions from networks with neither defined roads nor clearly organized hierarchies. The factors which drive this are the (dis)economies of scale, the presence of boundaries, and any initial asymmetry in the network. This research thus finds that roads and hierarchies, which are often thought to be the product of conscious design, can also arise without such intention.

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