Effect of congestion costs on shortest paths through complex networks

Douglas J. Ashton, Timothy C. Jarrett, Neil F. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


We analyze analytically the effect of congestion costs within a physically relevant, yet exactly solvable, network model featuring central hubs. These costs lead to a competition between centralized and decentralized transport pathways. In stark contrast to conventional no-cost networks, there now exists an optimal number of connections to the central hub in order to minimize the shortest path. Our results shed light on an open problem in biology, informatics, and sociology, concerning the extent to which decentralized versus centralized design benefits real-world complex networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number058701
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 11 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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