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


  • Roberto Patuelli University of Lugano and The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, Switzerland
  • Aura Reggiani University of Bologna
  • Peter Nijkamp VU University Amsterdam
  • Franz-Josef Bade University of Dortmund



complex networks, commuting, evolution, dynamics, German districts


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.

Author Biographies

Aura Reggiani, University of Bologna

Department of Economics, Faculty of Statistics, Professor

Peter Nijkamp, VU University Amsterdam

Department of Spatial Economics, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Professor

Franz-Josef Bade, University of Dortmund

Faculty of Spatial Planning, Professor




How to Cite

Patuelli, R., Reggiani, A., Nijkamp, P., & Bade, F.-J. (2010). The evolution of the commuting network in Germany: Spatial and connectivity patterns. Journal of Transport and Land Use, 2(3).