This paper examines the nature of first mover advantages in the deployment of spatially-differentiated surface transport networks. The literature on first mover advantages identifies a number of sources that explain their existence. However whether those sources exist in spatial networks, and how they play out with true capital immobility have been unanswered questions. By examining the empirical examples of commuter rail and the Underground in London, first mover advantage was observed and its sources explored. A model of network diffusion was then constructed to replicate the growth of surface transport networks, which enables first mover advantage to be analyzed in a controlled environment. Simulation experiments are conducted and Spearman rank correlation tests revealed that first mover advantages can exist in a surface transport network and become increasingly prominent as the network expands. In addition, the analysis discloses that the extent of first mover advantages may relate to the initial land use distribution and network redundancy. The sensitivity of simulation results to model parameters are also examined.
first mover advantage, transport, land use, network growth