Over the course of centuries, the Roman Empire built some 50,000 miles of highways, criss-crossing the ancient Mediterranean world from Britain to modern-day Turkey, from the Danube River to northern Africa. According to Encyclopaedia Brittanica, the vast number of feeder roads stretching into the empire’s provinces led to that famous saying about the Italian capital.
Nevertheless, Europe’s modern highways and arteries have mostly replaced the ancient transit system (though some fragments still exist).
Which raises the question: Do all roads still lead to Rome?
“Roads to Rome” is a data visualization project exploring this exact unsolved quest of mobility.The project resides somewhere between data visualisation and data art, unveiling mobility patterns at a large scale down to detailed views of urban mobility fabric.
moovel labs, a design agency from Germany, started to asnwer this quetsion by aligning points in a 26.503.452 km² grid covering all of Europe. Every cell of this grid contains the starting point to one of our journeys to Rome.
Now that we have our 486.713 starting points we need to find out how we could reach Rome as our destination. For this we created a algorithm that calculates one route for every trip. The more often a single street segment is used, the stronger it is drawn on the map
Europe’s roads to Rome
Europe’s new roads to Rome
But the designers from moovel Labs didn’t stop there. Further research uncovered that there is actually a city called Rome (or Roma) on every continent in the world.
Following this fact, we adjusted our routing to find the closest Rome to every location in the USA. Each color represents routes leading to the closest Rome of this very starting point. Adjusting and coloring the routing to multiple destinations resulted in a very interesting territorial picture. Thus, every location is connected to the nearest Rome according to fastest travel time.