, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 1139–1159 | Cite as

An analysis of the Spanish high capacity road network criticality

  • Juan Carlos García-Palomares
  • Javier Gutiérrez
  • Juan Carlos Martín
  • Borja Moya-Gómez


The analysis of complex networks has been carried out in different fields using an ample variety of method and concepts. Recently, in the general literature of regional economics, the concepts of resilience, connectivity, vulnerability and criticality have been gaining their momentum. The aim of this paper is to provide an analytical framework, using well-known accessibility indicators, in order to calculate the critical links or road sections of the Spanish high-capacity road network. Our analysis will be based on approximately four hundred sections that will be classified in five different groups according to their criticality degree in the whole network. Our analysis will be complemented with the comparison of the results obtained in five different scenarios, namely the average criticality using the effects on the whole country, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Pontevedra. Furthermore, the paper will also analyze what kind of intrinsic characteristics of the sections favor or not the links’ criticality using a method based on a classification and regression tree. This analysis is crucial to understand other important concepts that are recently being studied in network and spatial economics, like, for example, resilience and vulnerability. It is concluded that the number of relations or routes, being a trunk or not, the road density and the time to Madrid capital play an important role in the criticality of the roads section in the high capacity road network.


Roads’ criticality Complex networks Accessibility DEA indicators Resilience on transport systems CART 



We have benefited from many colleagues’ comments, suggestions, discussions and assistance. The reviewer’s comments are also acknowledged and appreciated.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan Carlos García-Palomares
    • 1
  • Javier Gutiérrez
    • 1
  • Juan Carlos Martín
    • 2
  • Borja Moya-Gómez
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Human GeographyComplutense University of MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.Department of Applied Economic Analysis, Institute of Tourism and Sustainable Economic DevelopmentUniversity of Las Palmas de Gran CanariaLas PalmasSpain

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