Advanced development and calibration of the network robustness index to identify critical road network links.
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Advanced development and calibration of the network robustness index to identify critical road network links.

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    • Abstract:
      In this research project, transportation flexibility and reliability concepts are extended and applied

      to a new method for identifying the most critical links in a road network. Current transportation

      management practices typically utilize localized level-of-service (LOS) measures such as the volumeto-

      capacity ratio (V/C) (Bremmer et al. 2004, Dheenadayalu et al. 2004). The solution to congestion

      planning problems is often to simply add more capacity along existing highway segments. This is a

      purely localized solution. The localized V/C approach does not necessarily allow planners to identify

      the most critical highway segments or corridors in terms of maximizing system-wide travel-time

      benefits, or to assess the robustness of a network. For system-wide objectives, there is a need for

      coincident consideration of the spatial distribution of traffic demand, the network topology and the

      network capacity.

      While implementing localized solutions may result in localized benefits, these solutions may have

      limited, negligible or even adverse system-wide effects. Recent studies of induced travel in North

      America offer strong evidence that this is indeed the case (see Scott 2002). An equal level of

      investment in another location or locations may provide greater benefits to the overall network. We

      argue that the localized V/C-based planning approach is inadequate and propose a comprehensive

      system-wide approach to identifying critical infrastructure and evaluating network performance –

      the Network Robustness Index (NRI) first introduced in Scott et al. (2006) and refined in Sullivan et

      al. (2010). At the same time, the management approach must complement existing local planning

      efforts. With the increased focus on ensuring that transportation infrastructure is robust from both a

      security standpoint as well as for evacuation needs, reliance on localized congestion measures to

      direct policy is clearly outdated.

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