Traffic flow in a spatial network model
Santa Fe Institute
Last modified: May 12, 2006
A quantity of practical importance in the design of an infrastructure network
is the amount of traffic along different parts in the network. Traffic
patterns primarily depend on the users' preference for short paths
through the network and spatial constraints for building the necessary
connections. Here we study the traffic distribution in a network model which
takes both of these considerations into account. Assuming users always travel
along the shortest path available, the appropriate measure for traffic flow
along the links is a generalization of the usual concept of "edge betweenness".
We find that for networks with a minimal total construction cost, a small
number of connections must handle a disproportionate amount of traffic.
However, the introduction of even very few additional links greatly reduces
the maximal traffic along any of the links in the network.