Network-scape metric analysis: a new approach for the pattern analysis of urban road networks
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The spatial patterns of road networks reflect the morphological and structural characteristics of cities. Previous studies have focused mainly on seeking universal laws in road networks rather than explaining their differences. A new approach for road network pattern analysis is proposed that has been inspired by landscape metric analysis. The utility of this approach is illustrated through (but is not limited to) the extraction of the main factors in network landscapes, or network-scapes for short. Twenty-four metrics were calculated for network-scapes of 100 cities worldwide, before an exploratory analysis is performed to detect the main factors. Four main factors were revealed and may be regarded as the characteristic indicators of road networks, which were identified to be evenness, richness-density, shape irregularity, and size and shape variation. The meanings of these factors are explained, and their spatial distributions are illustrated. Compared to existing road network analytics, these factors depict better the characteristic differences of road networks. The proposed approach provides a new framework for road network pattern analysis from a cellular perspective.