Journal of Geographical Systems

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 89–107 | Cite as

A three-dimensional network-based space–time prism

  • Tijs Neutens
  • Nico Van de Weghe
  • Frank Witlox
  • Philippe De Maeyer
Original Article


Time-geographic concepts are effective tools for the geovisualization of human activity patterns and to assess individual accessibility. In their traditional form, however, time-geographic concepts assume uniform travel velocities in an isotropic and homogeneous space. Because transportation systems confine travellers to links of road and rail networks with time-varying flows, these premises are typically unsatisfied in real-world situations. This paper provides an innovative approach to ameliorate the realism and applicability of space–time prisms by developing new three-dimensional space–time objects. Three-dimensional solid models which account for non-uniform movement are discussed, and their usefulness is assessed and illustrated by means of an example.


Time geography Space–time prism GIS CAD 

JEL Classification

C60 R40 



The authors would like to thank the anonymous referees for their helpful comments that significantly improved this paper. Grateful acknowledgement is also made to the University Research Fund (BOF-UGent) and the Research Foundation Flanders (Belgium) for financial support.


  1. Adams PC (2000) Application of a CAD-based accessiblity model. In: Janelle DG, Hodge DC (eds) Information, place and cyberspace: issues in accessibility. Berlin, Springer, pp. 217–239Google Scholar
  2. Bridwell S (2006) Representation and analysis of activities with varying discretion. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Chicago, Illinois, USAGoogle Scholar
  3. Carlstein T, Parkes D, Thrift N (1978) Timing space and spacing time, vol 2. Human activity and time geography. Edward Arnold, LondonGoogle Scholar
  4. Carrasco JA, Miller EJ (2006) Exploring the propensity to perform social activities: a social network approach. Transportation 33:463–480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dugundji ER, Walker JL (2005) Discrete choice with social and spatial network interdependencies: an empirical example using mixed generalized extreme value models with field and panel effects. Transport Res Rec 1921:70–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Forer P (1998) Geometric approaches to the nexus of time, space, and microprocess: implementing a practical model for mundane socio-spatial systems. In: Egenhofer MJ, Golledge RG (eds) Spatial and temporal reasoning in geographic information systems. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 171–190Google Scholar
  7. Hägerstrand T (1970) What about people in regional science? Papers Region Sci Assoc 24:7–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hägerstrand T (1985) Time geography: focus on the corporeality of man, society and environment. The science and praxis of complexity. The United Nations University, pp 193–216Google Scholar
  9. Hall RW (1983) Travel outcome and performance: the effect of uncertainty on accessibility. Transport Res B 17B:275–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hendricks MD, Egenhofer MJ, Hornsby K (2003) Structuring a wayfinder’s dynamic space–time environment. In: Kuhn W Worboys M, Timpf S (eds) Proceedings of the COSIT’03. Lecture notes in computer science, vol 2855, pp 75–92. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  11. Huisman O, Forer P (1998) Computational agents and urban life spaces: a preliminary realisation of the time-geography of student lifestyles. In: Abrahart RJ (ed) Proceedings of the 3rd international conference on geocomputation. Bristol, UK, CD-ROMGoogle Scholar
  12. Huisman O, Forer P (1999) Student access and campus geographies: operationalising time-geography for the study of university student life. In: Roche M, McKenna M, Hesp P (eds) Proceedings of the 20th New Zealand Geographical Society Conference. Hamilton, Palmerston North New Zealand, pp 153–158Google Scholar
  13. Janelle D (1995) Metropolitan expansion, telecommuting and transportation. In: Hanson S (ed) The Geography of Urban Transportation. Guilford, New York pp. 407–434Google Scholar
  14. Kim HM, Kwan MP (2003) Space–time accessibility measures: a geocomputational algorithm with a focus on the feasible opportunity set and possible activity duration. J Geogr Syst 5:71–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kitamura R, Fujii S (1998) Two computational process models of activity-travel choice. In: Gärling T, Laitila T, Westin K (eds) Theoretical foundations of travel choice modeling. Elsevier, Oxford, pp 251–279Google Scholar
  16. Kraak M (2003) The space–time cube revisited from a geovisualisation perspective. In: Proceedings of the 21st international cartographic conference. Cartographic Renaissance. Durban, South Africa, pp. 1988–1996Google Scholar
  17. Kwan MP (1998) Space–time and integral measures of individual accessibility: a comparative analysis using a point-based framework. Geogr Anal 30:191–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kwan MP, Hong XD (1998) Network-based constraint-oriented choice set formation using GIS. Geogr Inform 5:139–162Google Scholar
  19. Kwan MP (1999) Gender and individual access to urban opportunities: a study using space–time measures. Professional Geographer 51:211–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kwan MP, Weber J (2003) Individual accessibility revisited: implications for geographical analysis in the Twenty-first century. Geogr Anal 35:341–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kwan MP (2004) GIS methods in time-geographic research: geocomputation and geovisualization of human activity patterns. Geografiska Annaler B 86:205–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lenntorp B (1976) Paths in space–time environments: a time-geographic study of the movement possibilities of individuals. Lund Studies in Geography Number 44, Royal University of Lund, SwedenGoogle Scholar
  23. Lenntorp B (1978) A time-geographic simulation model of individual activity programs. In: Carlstein T, Parkes D, Thrift N (eds) Timing space and spacing time, vol 2. Human activity and time geography. Edward Arnold, London, pp. 162–180Google Scholar
  24. Miller HJ (1991) Modelling accessibility using space–time prism concepts within geographical information systems. Int J Geogr Inform Syst 5:287–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Miller HJ (1999) Measuring space–time accessibility benefits within transportation networks: basic theory and computational methods. Geogr Anal 31:187–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Miller HJ (2005a) A measurement theory for time geography. Geogr Anal 37:17-45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Miller HJ (2005b) Necessary space–time conditions for human interaction. Environment and Planning B. PlannDes 32:381–401Google Scholar
  28. Neutens T, Witlox F, Van de Weghe N, De Maeyer P (2007a) Human interaction under uncertainty. Transport Res Rec (in press)Google Scholar
  29. Neutens T, Witlox F, Van de Weghe N, De Maeyer P (2007b) Space–time opportunities for multiple agents: a constraint-based approach. Int J Geogr Inform Sci. doi: 10.1080/13658810601169873 (in press)
  30. Páez A, Scott DM (2007) Social influence on travel behavior: a simulation example of the decision to telecommute. Environm Plann A 39:503–535Google Scholar
  31. Pred A (1977) The choreography of existence: comments on Hägerstrand’s time-geography and its usefulness. Econ Geogr 53:207–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Villoria OG (1989) An operational measure of individual accessibility for use in the study of travel-activity patterns. Ph.D thesis, Graduate School of Ohio State University, Colombus, Ohio, USAGoogle Scholar
  33. Weber J, Kwan MP (2003) Evaluating the effects of geographic contexts on individual accessibility: a multilevel approach. Urban Geogr 24:647–671CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Weibull JW (1976) An axiomatic approach to the measurement of accessibility. Region Sci Urban Econ 6:357–379Google Scholar
  35. Weibull JW (1980) On the numerical measurement of accessibility. Environ Plann A 12:53–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wu YH, Miller HJ (2002) Computational tools for measuring space–time accessibility within transportation networks with dynamic flow. J Transport Stat 4:1–14Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tijs Neutens
    • 1
  • Nico Van de Weghe
    • 1
  • Frank Witlox
    • 1
  • Philippe De Maeyer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geography, Faculty of SciencesGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

Personalised recommendations