A NYC subway connection graph using Delaunay triangulation

Providing a good network connection between subway stations is critical to ensure an efficient mobility system in big areas. Let’s imagine we need to design a well-distributed subway network to connect the stations of a brand-new subway system. A simple and effective solution to this problem is to build a Delaunay triangulation of the predefined stations, which ensures a good connection distribution.

For this particular example we are choosing the New York city subway stations to build the cited triangulation. The following query will construct the triangulation using the ST_DELAUNAYLINES function from the processing module of the Analytics Toolbox.

WITH data AS (
        SELECT geom FROM `cartobq.docs.nyc_subway_stations`
    ) AS array_points
delaunay_array AS (
    SELECT `carto-un`.carto.ST_DELAUNAYLINES(array_points) AS nested
    FROM data
delaunay_triangles AS (
    SELECT geom
    FROM delaunay_array, UNNEST(nested) AS geom

SELECT ANY_VALUE(subways.geom) AS geom, COUNT(*) AS connections
FROM `cartobq.docs.nyc_subway_stations` AS subways
JOIN delaunay_triangles
ON ST_INTERSECTS(delaunay_triangles.geom, subways.geom)
GROUP BY(subways.id);

In the visualization above each subway station is represented by a point whose color and size represent the number of received connections.

As a curiosity, the average number of connections between the existing New Yorks subway stations is close to six, which indicates a balanced distribution of the stations according to the Delaunay triangulation properties.