Lack of resilience in transportation networks: Economic implications

Margaret Kurth, William Kozlowski, Alexander Ganin, Avi Mersky, Billy Leung, Jeffrey Dykes, Maksim Kitsak, Igor Linkov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Disruptions to transportation networks are inevitable. When road networks are not resilient, or in other words, do not recover rapidly from disruptions, unpredictable events can cause significant delays that may be disproportionately greater than the extent of the disruption. Enhancing transportation system resilience can help mitigate the consequences of disruptions; however, required investments are difficult to justify given the low probability of such events. This paper calculates economic implications of unmitigated random disruptions in urban road systems. We modeled delays in transportation networks and demonstrated how resilience can be integrated into macroeconomic modeling via the transportation planning model, REMI TranSight. The model was applied to 10 cities in the United States to forecast the impact of disruptions on gross domestic product (GDP). Different disruption scenarios were modeled and the magnitude of disruption was used to calculate additional delays in transportation networks, which were then integrated into the TranSight model. The results were compared to a baseline case, where economic impact was assumed to be proportional to the magnitude of disruptions. Results show that losses in GDP were far more pronounced in the case scenario as compared to the baseline. The losses tended to be higher in wealthier and more economically productive cities. The economic output tends to rebound one to two years after a disruptive event. We conclude that different topology in transportation networks in different cities requires explicit consideration and quantification of resilience to support investment decisions designed to improve transportation networks in cities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102419
JournalTransportation Research. Part D: Transport & Environment
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Risk
  • Regional economic modeling
  • Network science
  • Transportation networks
  • Resilience
  • Policy


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