Route Analysis & Effective Distance

Most probable routes and effective distance

The import risk model not only estimates the relative import risk at the airport and national level but also provides information on the most probable spreading routes from a location in the affected region, i.e. root node in the air transportation network.

The interactive visualization below can help develop an intuitive understanding of the distribution of import risk and the most probable spreading routes from a selected set of airports in affected regions in Mainland China.

The top airports in Mainland China are depicted in the bottom row, ordered by COVID-19 prevalence (as of Feb. 2nd, 2020), indicated by button size. Click one of the buttons to view the worldwide air transportation network from the perspective of the selected airport. That airport becomes the root node of a tree-like structure connecting to all other airports in the network. Hover over a node to display additional information about that airport, such as passenger flux, effective distance to the root node, and the number of outgoing flights.

Spreading routes

The tree represents the most probable spreading routes from the root node to all other airports in the network. Some nodes in the network are gateway hubs with many connected “branches” in the tree. The tree structure can differ significantly depending on which root node is selected.

Effective distance

The vertical length between nodes represents the effective distance between airports. This quantity was introduced in a 2013 paper (D. Brockmann & D. Helbing, Science: 342, 1337-1342 (2013)) and hs been shown to predict arrival times, spreading speeds, and outbreak origin of an emergent infectious disease.

Click the images below to explore a more elaborate version of this interactive model visualization.


References & resources