Business networks (comprised of buyer-supplier connections) are integral to specialization and clustering and are local or regional manifestations of manufacturing supply chains. For many economic sectors, enhancement of business network effects and positive externalities through transportation investments is vital to their competitive advantage. In essence, the directness of linkages between buyers and suppliers in any production network is important to ensuring that economies of localization accrue to the entire cluster in any region. Physical transport networks have a vital role to play in ensuring that directness in many sectors. In this paper, the contribution of transportation infrastructure to enhance business networks is analyzed by presenting directness measures explicitly linked to transport infrastructure. Two such measures are developed with general applicability to both developing and developed countries and the utility of the measures is motivated within the context of transportation investments. Such a directness measure has been broached in the literature but this is, to our knowledge, is the first attempt at developing a measure of this type. The transportation planning utility of such measures is also discussed. Next, we illustrate how the measure may be analyzed using a case example in the context of the automobile manufacturing cluster chain in Alabama, United States.
Vadali, S., & Chandra, S. (2014). Buyer-supplier transport access measures for industry clusters. Journal of Applied Research and Technology, 12(5), 839–849. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1665-6423(14)70590-5