Spatial inertia and separation in a hierarchy-driven structure: four case studies of flow continuity along ring roads

Alia'a Amr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This study focuses on spatial continuity and territorial cohesion and aims to provide insights into how urban flow is facilitated in a hierarchy-driven structure. It explains some of the current spatial inconsistencies and mismatches produced by normative road hierarchy classification as well as topological characteristics of ring roads and the road structure along them. With regard to morphological and functional aspects, this study uses a qualitative framework to describe the level of spatial inertia, separation, and access constraints along ring roads in four different case studies. The findings show that ring roads and the areas alongside them demonstrate relative spatial inertia and separation that obstruct the continuity of urban flow at the local and regional levels. Signs of spatial vulnerability and flow disjunction were found to be associated with cul-de-sacs and tributary road structures. In most case studies, it was found that replacing the road hierarchy that ramifies from ring roads with grid road structure and layout along with promoting sustainable mobility options enables better continuity. The study calls for relinquishing standardised frameworks of road classifications and changes within management and regulations that correspond to changing flow patterns and densities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalUrban, Planning and Transport Research
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2020
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Spatial inertia
  • spatial separation
  • ring roads
  • continuity measures
  • urban flow

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Urban Studies
  • Transportation


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