Chapter 19The Structure of Global Transportation Networks

Sean Hanna, Joan Serras and Tasos Varoudis

19.1 Introduction

The scale of analysis in space syntax research has historically been limited to that of the city street network, partly due to the limits of computational resources, due to the availability of maps and data, and for theoretical reasons. This chapter presents the initial stages of a global scale analysis of the structure of international transportation, including roads, but also sea-shipping, train and related networks, which we intend to be the first such study at this scale.

Prior studies of street networks beyond the scale of an individual city either have involved the separate analysis of individual urban graphs, as in the comparative analysis of a set of cities (Figueiredo and Amorim, 2007; Hanna, 2009; Peponis et al., 2007), or have been limited to a particular region within a country, such as the regional mapping of connected cities in the north of England (Turner, 2009). In part, this is a technical and methodological issue of limited computational resources for larger scale analysis. It is also a theoretical issue, as many of the kinds of social phenomena – pedestrian movement, commercial presence, wealth and poverty and so on – that can be observed in the relatively small scale of the city street do not have a clear presence at the much larger scale of an international road network, and more theoretical work would be needed to understand these (Turner, ...

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