An Application of Complex Network Theory to German Commuting Patterns

  • Sean P. Gorman
  • Roberto Patuelli
  • Aura Reggiani
  • Peter Nijkamp
  • Rajendra Kulkarni
  • Günter Haag
Part of the International Series in Operations Research & Management Science book series (ISOR, volume 102)


Simulating the structure and evolution of complex networks is an area that has recently received considerable attention. Most of this research has grown out of the physical sciences, but there is growing interest in their application to the social sciences, especially regional science and transportation. This paper presents a network structure simulation experiment utilizing a gravity model to identify interactions embodied in socio-economic processes. In our empirical case, we consider home-to-work commuting patterns among 439 German labour market districts. Specifically, the paper examines first the connectivity distribution of the German commuting network. The paper next develops a spatial interaction model to estimate the structure and flows in the network concerned. The focus of this paper is to examine how well the spatial interaction model replicates the structure of the German commuting network as compared to complex network models. Finally, the structure of the physical German road network is compared to the spatial flows of commuters across it for a tentative supply-demand comparison.


complex networks commuting infrastructure 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sean P. Gorman
    • 1
  • Roberto Patuelli
    • 2
  • Aura Reggiani
    • 3
  • Peter Nijkamp
    • 2
  • Rajendra Kulkarni
    • 1
  • Günter Haag
    • 4
  1. 1.George Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.VU University AmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.University of BolognaItaly
  4. 4.Steinbeis Transfer Centre Applied System Analysis (STASA)StuttgartGermany

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