Detour Level in a Hub-and-Spoke Network

Detour Level in a Hub-and-Spoke Network

One of the consequences of a hub-and-spoke network structure is a potentially high level of detour depending upon the origin, destination, and their respective position in relation to the hub. The above hub-and-spoke network is subdivided into four equal quadrants (A, B, C, and D). The level of detour is a direct function of the quadrant of origin and destination. For instance, a connection from node 1 (quadrant A) to another node must go through the hub. Depending on the quadrant of the node of destination, a level of detour is involved. If the destination is in the same quadrant (A in this case) the level of detour is very high. For adjacent quadrants (B and D) the level of detour is average. In contrast, for the opposite quadrant (C) the level of detour is low since the destinations are almost at a right angle in relation to the node of origin.

This taxonomy may have important ramifications for transport systems relying on a hub-and-spoke network structure, namely for air transportation. Passengers whose destination airport is in the same quadrant as their airport of origin may find the extra travel time a nuisance and may elect for another mode instead (e.g. driving). The choice of an airline may thus be influenced by the level of detour their hub(s) may impose between the origin and the destination.