Using ArcGIS I want to output a raster for the distance from a set of points, however I want to do this using a road network, as opposed to just using the Euclidean distance function i.e. using Euclidean distance but along a road network as opposed to as the crow flies. Can anyone tell me away of doing this? Ultimately I'm trying to calculate a cost surface of how much it will cost to transport goods from supply points to an undefined market i.e not a specific point but anywhere within a region.

  • Euclidean distance is a length of crow flight.
    – FelixIP
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 18:59
  • Create a cost surface with roads == 1 and everything else is NoData then use cost distance tool.
    – user2856
    Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 23:16

2 Answers 2


Yes this is possible, but it is most easily done with the Network Analyst Extension. This extension is super in depth, and it will allow you to create routes for more than one driver, adding more than one stop, giving them a predetermined maximum time they can drive, timeframes to be at each location, adding start and end times, etc.

  • Thanks - could you tell me which function in Network analyst i need? I've used it a bit but I've only worked out how to calculate buffers from points or distance along the road network. what i'm looking for is a continuous surface. The only way I've thought of doing it so far is using brute force, creating a point grid at the required resolution, then using the closest facility function to work out the distance to each point, joining the resultant routes to the incidents in the closest faculty and then converting the points to a raster. there must be a better way then this though
    – Tom Bide
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 14:56

Network analyst is one option, but I'd like to suggest a second option, which is using the Cost Distance functions in Spatial Analyst, but restricting the analysis to raster cells that intersect roads.

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