Networks and Spatial Economics

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 229-254

First online:

Vortex-Based Zero-Conflict Design of Urban Road Networks

  • David EichlerAffiliated withPhysics Department, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
  • , Hillel Bar-GeraAffiliated withDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Email author 
  • , Meir BlachmanAffiliated withPhysics Department, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

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A novel approach is suggested for reducing traffic conflicts in at-grade (2D) urban networks. Intersections without primary vehicular conflicts are defined as zero traffic conflict (ZTC) designs. A complete classification of maximal ZTC designs is presented, including designs that combine driving on the right side in some streets and driving on the left side in other streets. It is shown that there are 9 four-way and 3 three-way maximal ZTC intersection designs, to within mirror, rotation, and arrow reversal symmetry. Vortices are used to design networks where all or most intersections are ZTC. Increases in average travel distance, relative to unrestricted intersecting flow, are explicitly calculated for grid-networks of sizes 10 by 10, 10 by 20 and 20 by 20 nodes with evenly distributed origins and destinations. The exact increases depend primarily on various short-range conditions, such as the access to the network. The average distance increase in most cases examined is up to four blocks. These results suggest that there is a potential for the new designs to be relevant candidates in certain circumstances, and that further study of them is worthwhile.


Network design Traffic conflicts