In an answer by The Photon he mentions 'Manhattan routing' in regards to PCB design. I haven't found a lot of relevant information about this term on the internet; therefore the question: What is Manhattan routing?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Your stuck in routing for 2 hours while the software updates. \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Aug 16, 2013 at 15:04

2 Answers 2


Manhattan routing is a PCB routing strategy. You use one dedicated layer for horizontal tracks and another layer for vertical tracks. No horizontal tracks are allowed on the vertical layer, and no vertical traces are used on the horizontal layer. This means that most connections will go trough a via, but this strategy can provide surprisingly dense boards with little routing effort.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Didn't know there was a name for this. Glad to know I'm not the only one who does it! \$\endgroup\$ Aug 16, 2013 at 13:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ I recommended this to someone recently but was told that it's primarily a through-hole concept and that with the prevalence of SMT it makes routing worse. That does not agree with my experience; does anyone find that SMT boards are harder to route this way? \$\endgroup\$
    – lyndon
    Aug 16, 2013 at 17:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @lyndon - I can see how it would be a bit more difficult with SMT then TH. Additionally, it will likely mean you need a LOT more vias on the SMT board, as you can't join the part pins on either layer. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 16, 2013 at 18:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't see how this will be different for SMT or TH, since TH is just an SMT with a via in each pin...of course your SMT PCB will have a lot more vias with this technique, but as far as I can see, it will just be in the worst case as a pure TH PCB. \$\endgroup\$
    – mFeinstein
    Aug 17, 2013 at 22:22

Look at a map of Manhattan: streets are straight and at right angles. That's what you do on your PCB: horizontal and vertical lines.

There's also the concept of "Manhattan distance". That's the distance measured vertically, then horizontally, instead of a direct line.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1. BTW: Broadway is the odd perpendicular VCC or GND net that everyone seems to forget while (auto?)routing all the digital lines 'Manhattan Style'. \$\endgroup\$
    – zebonaut
    Aug 16, 2013 at 19:43

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