The Road Not Taken: modelling approaches to transport on local and regional scales

Mark Groenhuijzen, Philip Verhagen


Research on transport systems thus far has largely focussed on the documented and partly surviving road systems, ranging from the Roman imperial road systems known from the itineraries and the Peutinger Table to the road systems documented by medieval cartographers, even when it is well known that secondary road systems were in use simultaneously. Empirical evidence for the existence, location and chronology, particularly for secondary roads, is however scarce in many cases. In addition, transport over water (both fluvial and coastal) is often not considered. In order to bridge the gap between our theoretical notions of short- to medium-distance transport and the surviving (archaeological and historical) evidence for transport systems, in this session we want to focus on the practical and theoretical implications of using spatial modelling and analysis techniques, such as GIS-based cost surface modelling and social network analysis, for better understanding transport at the local and regional scales. We want to explore in what way spatial modelling can provide more insight into the organisation of local and regional transport, as well as the implications it has for the interpretation of the position, function and potential for trade of settlements within the local and regional transport system. We specifically invite papers that deal with:
1) new approaches to modelling transport networks, including aspects of differential access to the system, different modes of (wheeled) transport and diverse cost considerations (energetic, economic etc.);
2) studies that combine transport network modelling and quantitative analysis approaches such as social network analysis;
3) studies that link transport networks to models of trade/exchange at the local and regional scale;
4) applications of transport network modelling in different landscapes and environments.