The evolution of the commuting network in Germany: Spatial and connectivity patterns

Roberto Patuelli, Aura Reggiani, Peter Nijkamp, Franz-Josef Bade


The analysis of the structure and evolution of complex networks has recently received considerable attention. Although research on networks originated in mathematical studies dating back to the nineteenth century (or earlier), and developed further in the mid-twentieth century with contributions to graph theory, interest in its application to the social sciences is currently growing---particularly in regional science and transportation, because of the spatial relevance of networks. This paper presents a dynamic outlook for the German commuting network from the perspective of the German labor market districts. The focus of this paper is to explore how the German commuting network evolves, from two perspectives: space and connectivity. We consider home-to-work commuters moving between 439 German districts for the years 1995 and 2005. The results of the present analysis make it possible to identify, among the main German districts, the most “open” and connected ones. These emerging districts can be considered as potential “hubs” in the German commuting system---that is, as attractors from the perspective of spatial economics, and as interconnectors from the perspective of networking.


complex networks, commuting, evolution, dynamics, German districts

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