Percolation of heterogeneous flows uncovers the bottlenecks of infrastructure networks

Homayoun Hamedmoghadam, Mahdi Jalili, Hai L. Vu, Lewi Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Whether it be the passengers’ mobility demand in transportation systems, or the consumers’ energy demand in power grids, the primary purpose of many infrastructure networks is to best serve this flow demand. In reality, the volume of flow demand fluctuates unevenly across complex networks while simultaneously being hindered by some form of congestion or overload. Nevertheless, there is little known about how the heterogeneity of flow demand influences the network flow dynamics under congestion. To explore this, we introduce a percolation-based network analysis framework underpinned by flow heterogeneity. Thereby, we theoretically identify bottleneck links with guaranteed decisive impact on how flows are passed through the network. The effectiveness of the framework is demonstrated on large-scale real transportation networks, where mitigating the congestion on a small fraction of the links identified as bottlenecks results in a significant network improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1254
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


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