CO2 emissions in relation to street-network configuration and city size

Nahid Mohajeri, Agust Gudmundsson, Jon French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The street-network efficiency of tens of British cities in relation to transport fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are analyzed. The results show a strong linear positive correlation between length entropy and average street length, and a negative correlation between entropy and street density. Also, the results suggest that in a large city the street network is used more efficiently than in a small city, as indicated by the sublinear relations between city size (population) and the number of streets, total length of streets, and the area covered by the street network. The sublinear relation means that these parameters grow more slowly than the city size. By contrast, because a larger fraction of the street network is used at close to full capacity during considerable part of the time in a large city than a small one, the fuel consumption and the CO2 emissions show a linear relation with city size and superlinear relation with total street length. The superlinear relation means that the CO2 emissions increase faster than the total street length, a measure of the network size. Thus, large cities may be less energy efficient and environmentally friendly than small cities. In every city the street network needs to interconnect all the buildings, which requires a certain minimum size. In a small city, however, the network is used to a low capacity most of the time so that its relations to fuel consumption and the CO2 emissions are more favorable than those in a large city.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-129
Number of pages14
JournalTransportation Research D: Transport and Environment
Early online date6 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015

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