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Measuring winners and losers from the new I-35W Mississippi River Bridge


The opening of the replacement for the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge on September 18th, 2008 provides a unique opportunity to evaluate the impacts generated by this additional link on network performance. Using detailed GPS data to estimate travel times on links and for origin-destination pairs, this research finds that while on average travel time improved with the reopening of the bridge, the subsequent restoration of parts of the rest of the network to their pre-collapse configuration worsened travel times significantly on average. In all cases, the distribution of winners and losers indicates clear spatial patterns associated with these network changes.

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  1. The data can be downloaded from

  2. Because of their minor role in traffic analysis and the small number of observations available, two other time periods, Before Morning Peak and After Afternoon Peak, were ignored in this study.

  3. The converse does not hold, I-35W is not a perfect substitute for I-94 travelers.


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This material is based in part upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0825768, BRIDGE: Behavioral Response to the I-35W Disruption: Gauging Equilibration; Minnesota Department of Transportation project Traffic Flow and Road User Impacts of the Collapse of the I-35W Bridge over the Mississippi River; Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium for the project Value of Reliability; and the University of Minnesota Metropolitan Consortium. We would also like to thank Kathleen Harder, John Bloomfield, Randy Guensler, and Shu Hong. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium or others.

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Correspondence to David Levinson.

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Zhu, S., Levinson, D. & Liu, H. Measuring winners and losers from the new I-35W Mississippi River Bridge. Transportation 44, 905–918 (2017).

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  • Network disruption
  • Travel time
  • GPS data