Street Network Orientation by Road Type

Geoff Boeing’s Street Network Orientation visualization really caught my imagination when it was published last year. It’s such a simple, beautiful way to illustrate the patterns around us we may not otherwise notice.

On my Beautiful Hidden Logic of Cities work, lots of Reddit comments mentioned that Avenues in their city tend to run north-south (or east-west), and Streets ran east-west (or north-south).

There seemed to be opportunity to combine these two concepts to show the directions each road type tends to run. It also seemed like a fun challenge to implement the concept in R.

My finished code can be found here. It’s not as fast and clean as the original, but I’m pleased that it works! Feel free to use it for your own cities.

US Cities

And indeed, the prevailing direction of Avenues tends to be north-south or east-west, and Streets tend to be orthogonal to the Avenues.


Cities Worldwide

Outside of North America, road grids tend not be, well, grids.



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