A topological characterization of flooding impacts on the Zurich road network
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Infrastructure systems are the structural backbone of cities, facilitating the flow of essential services. Because those systems can be disrupted by natural hazards, risk management has been the prevailing approach for assessing the consequences and expected level of damage. Although this may be a valuable metric, the practice of risk assessment does not represent how hazards affect a network of assets on a larger scale. In contrast, network topology metrics are useful because they evaluate the performance of network infrastructures by looking at the system as a whole. As described here, we began this study to improve our understanding of how flooding events affect the topological properties of road networks, in this case, the urban road infrastructure of Zurich, Switzerland. Using maps of flooding risk, we developed a procedure to extract the damaged networks and analyze the centrality metrics for peak water levels on the surface of the city. Our approach modelled roads as edges and junctions between roads as nodes. The betweenness centrality metric characterizes the importance of nodes or edges for any type of exchange within a network, whereas the closeness centrality metric measures the accessibility of a specific node to all the other nodes. This investigation produced three main findings. First, descriptive analyses showed that the characteristics and patterns of nodes and edges changed under the flooding events. Second, the distribution function of centrality metrics became heavier in the tails as the flood magnitude increased. Third, the associated strain shifted critical nodes to areas in which those nodes would not be important under normal conditions. These findings are essential for identifying crucial locations and devising plans to address risks. Future projects could expand our approach by including traffic flow to move the analysis closer to real-world flows, and by studying the accessibility under emergency conditions at local levels. Show more
Journal / seriesPLoS ONE
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