A Geometric Classification of World Urban Road Networks

Mohamed Badhrudeen, Sybil Derrible, T. Verma, Amirhassan Kermanshah, Angelo Furno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


This article presents a method to uncover universal patterns and similarities in the urban road networks of the 80 most populated cities in the world. To that end, we used degree distribution, link length distribution, and intersection angle distribution as topological and geometric properties of road networks. Moreover, we used ISOMAP, a nonlinear dimension reduction technique, to better express variations across cities, and we used K-means to cluster cities. Overall, we uncovered one universal pattern between the number of nodes and links across all cities and identified five classes of cities. Gridiron Cities tend to have many 90° angles. Long Link Cities have a disproportionately high number of long links and include mostly Chinese cities that developed towards the end of the 20th century. Organic Cities tend to have short links and more non-90 and 180° angles; they also include relatively more historical cities. Hybrid Cities tend to have both short and long links; they include cities that evolved both historically and recently. Finally, Mixed Cities exhibit features from all other classes. These findings can help transport planners and policymakers identify peer cities that share similar characteristics and use their characteristics to craft tailored transport policies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11
JournalUrban Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • road network
  • network science
  • transport planning
  • topology
  • geometry
  • clustering


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