Quantifying the hierarchy of public transport networks

Abel Buijtenweg, Trivik Verma, Oded Cats, Barth Donners, Huijuan Wang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Public transport networks constitute critical infrastructure in urban systems. Public transport networks are characterised by their hierarchical structure, yet methods to quantify their underlying hierarchy are lacking. We propose a metric for quantifying the hierarchy in public transport networks which incorporates topological as well as passenger flow information. Our proposed metric consists of three components which jointly define the relative hierarchical position of nodes across the network while the distribution of hierarchy defines the hierarchy of the network itself. We apply the metric to the case studies of Amsterdam and Rotterdam to demonstrate its usefulness in comparing different network states both within and across networks. Using this metric, we identify different patterns in network structures for network states and different spatial distributions of hierarchy between networks. Furthermore, by dividing the network into functional levels, we identify a multilayer hierarchical structure that describes the functionality of the network. The potential application of this metric relates to the assessment of network development scenarios, evaluating bottlenecks and analysing the network vulnerability. Furthermore, the metric is potentially suitable for assessing different network structures such as aviation or maritime networks.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2021 7th International Conference on Models and Technologies for Intelligent Transportation Systems (MT-ITS)
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-7281-8995-6
ISBN (Print)978-1-7281-8996-3
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventIEEE International Conference on Models and Technologies for Intelligent Transportation Systems - Online at Heraklion, Greece
Duration: 16 Jun 202117 Jun 2021
Conference number: 7


ConferenceIEEE International Conference on Models and Technologies for Intelligent Transportation Systems
Abbreviated titleMT-ITS 2021
CityOnline at Heraklion
Internet address

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care

Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Degree
  • Hierarchical
  • Networks
  • Transportation


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