Network analysis to identify critical links for relief activities during extreme weather events

In 2017, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) closed over 530 disrupted road sections in the Houston area during Hurricane Harvey. Ground transportation for evacuation, motor carriers transporting humanitarian aid, and first responders entering the flooded areas had to be rerouted or rescheduled due to the road closures. To repair the damaged road infrastructure, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) allocated $25 million of federal funds to TxDOT for emergency repair activities such as removing debris, inspecting bridges and replacing traffic lights. In general, network links that carry higher traffic volume and those that ensure connectivity to isolated subnetworks represent critical links because disruptions on the links would impact more vehicles with a greater magnitude of travel time increase from rerouting or rescheduling. However, the individuals and communities that use the infrastructure determines the importance of the road links as community resiliency during the response and recovery phases of extreme weather events vary based on their economic stability and social networks. If a certain link serves at-risk communities (i.e., lower income or older population) for evacuation or humanitarian aid, the link should be considered as a critical link regardless of its total traffic volume. These links must be resilient to save lives within the neighborhood and strengthen the region’s overall resiliency. The proposed research identifies the criticality of network links by identifying the community impacts from network disruption. In particular, this study focuses on developing a network index to determine the critical network links of the communities in a Hurricane-prone area. The outcome of this study will answer the following important questions for disaster planning, management, and recovery: (1) What are the impacts of network disruptions on communities? (2) Which road links should be given a higher priority for disaster restoration during the response and recovery phases of extreme weather events? The strategic plans obtained from the study will maximize the efficiency of disaster management while considering the equity and need of vulnerable communities. Decision-making that considers the risks to different communities may lead to a more effective distribution of resources and lead to a faster and more resilient recovery from disaster events by strengthening the preservation of critical infrastructure links, which support at-risk populations more effectively throughout all phases of a disaster scenario. The research outcomes will be shared with practitioners, policy-makers, and universities through Workshops, Webinars and Conferences to attract discussions from the transportation operation and management sectors, particularly from the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC), Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), and other regional metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs). The findings will strongly support short- and long-term transportation and infrastructure planning for policy makers and planners especially when optimizing maintenance and operation resources for future strategies while considering budget and time constraints to achieve maximum efficiency in disaster relief activities.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $ 112000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Transportation Consortium of South-Central States (Tran-SET)

    Louisiana State University
    Baton Rouge, LA  United States  70803
  • Project Managers:

    Mousa, Momen

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Texas at Arlington

    Department of Civil Engineering
    Box 19308
    Arlington, TX  United States  76019
  • Principal Investigators:

    Hyun, Kate

  • Start Date: 20200801
  • Expected Completion Date: 20220201
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01757535
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Consortium of South-Central States (Tran-SET)
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747106
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Nov 10 2020 9:11PM