Physarum-Inspired Bicycle Lane Network Design in a Congested Megacity

Muhammad A. H. Akhand, Md Ahsan Habib, Md Abdus Samad Kamal, Nazmul Siddique

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
37 Downloads (Pure)


Improvement of mobility, especially environment-friendly green mobility, is challenging in existing megacities due to road network complexity and space constraints. Endorsing the bicycle lane network (BLN) in congested megacities is a promising option to foster green mobility. This research presents a novel bioinspired network design method that considers various constraints and preferences related to the megacity for designing an optimal BLN. The proposed method is inspired by natural Physarum polycephalum, a brainless, multi-headed single-celled organism, which is capable of developing a reticulated network of complex foraging behaviors in pursuit of food. The mathematical model of Physarum foraging behavior is adapted to maneuver various BLN constraints in megacity contexts in designing the optimal BLN. The Physarum-inspired BLN method is applied to two case studies on the megacity Dhaka for designing BLNs: the first one covers congested central city area, and the second one covers a broader area that includes major locations of the city. The obtained BLNs were evaluated comparing their available routes between different locations with the existing vehicle routes of the city in terms of distance and required travel times in different time periods, and the BLN routes were found to be suitable alternatives for avoiding congested main roads. The expected travel time using BLNs is shorter than other transport (e.g., car and public bus); additionally, at glance, the average travel speed on BLNs is almost double that of public buses in peak hours. Finally, the designed BLNs are promising for environment-friendly and healthy mobility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e6958
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number15
Early online date28 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished online - 28 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: This research is supported partially by Japan Science (JSPS) Grant-in-Aids for Scientific Research (C) 20K04531.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Bicycle lane network
  • Megacity
  • Physarum polycephalum
  • Bioinspired network design
  • Green mobility


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