I want to create the least cost path between two cities. I have a cost raster that I can use to create a cost path between two cities. However, a new condition is that the path also should take into consideration that it costs more to cross more states. In between two cities, there are many states of different sizes and shapes. So, I would like to create a path that takes into cost raster as well as goes through the least number of states (polygons) as much as possible.

One of my solutions is to create a buffer around states’ boundaries and assign a high cost for the buffer zone. This will make paths expensive to cross multiple borders. It might work on some level for some but might not for oddly shaped polygons.

Are there any other tools or ways that I can use in ArcGIS to solve my problem?

1 Answer 1


I would try buffering the line enough so that it is a few pixels wide. Otherwise there may be places on diagonals that are "cheaper" to cross than horizontal or vertical lines. Then convert the polygons to raster and assign whatever cost you like.

Read through the cost distance documentation to better understand the tool and its inputs.

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