An equity-based transport network criticality analysis

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Transport network criticality analyses aim at identifying important segments in a transport network. Such studies are often based on the utilitarian principle, where the criticality of a segment is assessed based on its contribution to the aggregate performance of the transport system. To allow for the use of alternative moral principles, I systematically operationalize concepts from the transport equity literature into an equity-based criticality analysis framework. There are two main ideas in this framework: calculation of equity-weighted transport demand based on distributive moral principles and adaptation of an equity-weighted user equilibrium assignment algorithm. Using the Bangladesh freight transport network as a case study, I show that different sets of transport segments emerge as being critical when different moral principles are used. The use of some pairs of moral principles, for example global equalization and proportionality, even produces a negative ranking correlation. This implies that links which are considered to be critical based on one principle are not at all critical based on the other one. Selection of a moral principle, either explicitly or implicitly, is an inevitable step in transport network criticality analysis. Hence, it is advised to use multiple moral principles or to make a deliberative selection of a moral principle, as considering alternative moral principles in a criticality analysis could expose previously overlooked transport segments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-221
Number of pages18
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Criticality
  • Equity
  • Justice
  • Transport network
  • Vulnerability


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