Topological evolution of a metropolitan rail transport network: The case of Stockholm


Oded Cats

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, place - urban, mode - rail, mode - subway/metro, planning - network design


Public transport, Network evolution, Topology, Rail, Infrastructure, Investments


The structure of transport networks is the outcome of a large number of infrastructure investment decisions taken over a long time span. Network indicators are widely used for characterizing transport network topology and its performance as well as provide insights on possible developments. Little is known however on how rail bound public transport networks and their network indicators have evolved into their current form. This study conducts a longitudinal analysis of the topological evolution of a multimodal rail network by investigating the dynamics of its topology for the case of Stockholm in 1950–2025. The starting year marks the opening of the metro system while the end year is set to mark the completion of the current development plan. Based on a compilation of network topology and service properties, a year-on-year analysis of changes in global network efficiency and directness as well as local nodal centrality were conducted. Changes in network topology exhibit smooth long-term technological and spatial trends as well as the signature of top-down planning interventions. Stockholm rail network evolution is characterized by contraction and stagnation periods followed by network extensions and is currently undergoing a considerable densification, marking a shift from peripheral attachment to preferential attachment.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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