Task number: 4250
Show that the edges of each planar graph can be oriented so that each vertex has an outdegree at most 3.
Choose any orientation and incrementally reduce the outdegrees of the selected vertices by switching the orientation along cleverly selected paths.
Suppose that in some orientation of a given graph \( G \) the vertex \( u \) has an outdegree at least four.
Let us denote by \( S \) the set of vertices to which exist an oriented path from \( u \). It holds that the subgraph \( G [S] \) of the graph \( G \) induced by the set \( S \) is also a subgraph \( G \) induced by the edges that emanate from the vertices \( S \). Because \( G \) is planar, \( G [S] \) is also planar. It follows from Euler’s formula that \( G [S] \) can have at most \( 3 | S | -6 \) edges. Therefore, in \( G [S] \) necessarily lies the vertex \( v \), whose outdegree is at most 2 – if such a vertex does not exist, \( G [S] \) would have at least \( 3 | S | \) edges.
By switching the edges on the path from \( u \) to \( v \), we obtain a graph in which the outdegree of \( u \) is reduced, and the outdegree of \( v \) does not exceeded three. The outputdegrees of the other vertices remain unchanged.
By repeating the above procedure, we eliminate all vertices whose outdegree is at least four.