This dissertation explores transportation development and models the evolutionary growth of transportation networks including its determining factors. In particular, it examines the organization of ownership in the provision of transportation infrastructure as a pivotal driving factor. A series of stand-alone studies is dedicated to a comprehensive examination of network growth and ownership structure from different approaches analytically, empirically, and in simulation.
The analytical model presents a game-theoretic analysis of centralized versus decentralized governance choice on a serial road network. It reveals that, depending on the tradeoff between the benefits and costs associated with alternative decision-making processes, governance choice reflects constituents' collective spending preferences on infrastructure, and may spontaneously shift as the network improves over time.
Empirical studies on Minneapolis skyways and Indiana Interurbans examine the expansion of transportation networks as a discrete sequence of link additions over time. Both studies suggest that the deployment of a network has to some extent followed a predictable path by which accessibility is maximized. Depending on its ownership organization, though, supply decisions may be made under different interests to serve different groups of people. In contrast, the third empirical study, analyzing the causation effects in the coupled development of residences and streetcars in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, reveals that the rapid extension of streetcar lines, rather than responding to the demand, preceded residential development along the lines.
Integrating findings from analytical and empirical studies, simulation models implement the incremental deployment of a road network under centralized versus decentralized jurisdictional control. Simulation experiments demonstrate the models' capability in terms of assisting planners and decision-makers to test, evaluate, and manage network growth under alternative economic and regulatory regimes.
Findings from throughout the dissertation suggest that, the growth of transportation networks can be best described as a complex evolutionary process that is profoundly driven by their ownership organization. Out of all the complexities, this research manages to demonstrate that network growth is following a path that is not only logical in retrospect, but also predictable and manageable from a planning perspective.