An assessment method for highway network vulnerability

Rawia Ahmed El-Rashidy, Susan M. Grant-Muller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


This paper introduces a methodology to assess the level of vulnerability of road transport networks. A new technique based on fuzzy logic and exhaustive search optimisation is used to combine vulnerability attributes with different weights into a single vulnerability index for network links, which may be used to measure the impact of disruptive events. The network vulnerability index is then calculated using two different aggregations: an aggregated vulnerability index based on physical characteristics and an aggregated vulnerability index based on operational characteristics. The former uses link physical properties such as its length and number of lanes, whilst the latter reflects aspects of the network flow. The application of the methodology on a synthetic network (based on Delft city, Netherlands) demonstrates the ability of the technique to estimate variation in the level of vulnerability under different scenarios. The method also allows exploration of how variation in demand and supply impact on overall network vulnerability, providing a new tool for decision makers to understand the dynamic nature of vulnerability under various events. The method could also be used as an evaluation tool to gauge the impact of particular policies on the level of vulnerability for the highway network and highlight weaknesses in the network.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-43
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Transport Geography
Early online date21 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


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