Networks and Spatial Economics

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 397–411 | Cite as

The Evaluation of Road Network Vulnerability in Mountainous Areas: A Case Study

  • Federico RupiEmail author
  • Silvia Bernardi
  • Guido Rossi
  • Antonio Danesi


This paper deals with the issue of road network vulnerability, with special reference to a mountainous area case. It describes the implementation of a methodology that ranks links of a network according to their importance in maintaining a proper connectivity between all origin-destination pairs. Such a ranking can be particularly helpful in prioritising maintenance investments to be planned along the links of a road network.

Following a conceptual approach observed in transport literature, we consider vulnerability to be connected to importance, i.e. a measure of the consequences of the collapse of a network element. In the present study we introduce a new definition of importance – with respect to a given link – that simultaneously includes two aspects: its level of usage, i.e. how many people typically use the link when travelling in a given time window, and the impact that the closure of that link could have on the general functionality of the network as a whole.

The methodology proposed was implemented in order to obtain a ranking of importance for the links of a real-scale network, i.e. the road network of the Province of Bolzano, a highly mountainous area located in the Italian Alps.


Vulnerability Reliability Robustness Importance Road networks Global importance Local importance Importance indicator 



This research has been co-financed in the framework of the EU PARAmount project. Authors are very grateful to Ms Claudia Strada, Mr. Matteo Mottironi and all the staff of Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano for their input data, information for the model calibration and the kind collaboration they provided in all phases of the research: without their support this paper could not have been written.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Federico Rupi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Silvia Bernardi
    • 1
  • Guido Rossi
    • 1
  • Antonio Danesi
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Engineering, DICAM Department Transport research groupUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly

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