Switch between critical percolation modes in city traffic dynamics

Guanwen Zeng, Daqing Li, Shengmin Guo, Liang Gao, Ziyou Gao, H. Eugene Stanley, Shlomo Havlin

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79 Scopus citations


Percolation transition is widely observed in networks ranging from biology to engineering. While much attention has been paid to network topologies, studies rarely focus on critical percolation phenomena driven by network dynamics. Using extensive real data, we study the critical percolation properties in city traffic dynamics. Our results suggest that two modes of different critical percolation behaviors are switching in the same network topology under different traffic dynamics. One mode of city traffic (during nonrush hours or days off) has similar critical percolation characteristics as small world networks, while the other mode (during rush hours on working days) tends to behave as a 2D lattice. This switching behavior can be understood by the fact that the high-speed urban roads during nonrush hours or days off (that are congested during rush hours) represent effective long-range connections, like in small world networks. Our results might be useful for understanding and improving traffic resilience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-28
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. This work is supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China Grant 71621001. D.L. acknowledges support from National Natural Science Foundation of China Grants 71822101 and 71771009 and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities. L.G. received support from Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities Grant 2018JBM026 and National Natural Science Foundation of China Grants 71571017, 91746201, and 91646124. S.H. thanks the Israel–Italian collaborative project Network Aware Cyber Security, the Israel– Japan Science Foundation, the Israel Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, Defense Threat Reduction Agency Grant HDTRA-1-10-1-0014, and Binational Science Foundation–National Science Foundation for financial support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 National Academy of Sciences. All Rights Reserved.


  • Critical exponents
  • Percolation
  • Phase transition
  • Switch
  • Traffic

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