Revisiting the structuring effect of transportation infrastructure: an empirical approach with the French Railway Network from 1860 to 1910

Abstract : The development of the French railway network was mostly planned in a centralized manner. Despite the multiplication of travel opportunities, the local impact on the demographics is often given as an indirect effect of this spatial transformation. However, this " structuring effect " is still subject to controversies within the academia. In this paper, we construct a historical geographic information system describing the evolution of the French network. We use it to compute accessibility measures based on network access and travel durations. We first observe than the network growth indeed achieved the various planning goals in term of functional accessibility. We then present further evidences that the " structuring effect " of the train network on cities demographics is very limited if not null.
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Christophe Mimeur, François Queyroi, Arnaud Banos, Thomas Thévenin. Revisiting the structuring effect of transportation infrastructure: an empirical approach with the French Railway Network from 1860 to 1910. Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2018, 51 (2), pp.65-81. ⟨10.1080/01615440.2017.1393358⟩. ⟨hal-01616746⟩

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