Transportation Disruptions and Regional Supply Chains: A Modeling Framework with Application to Coastal Shipping

  • Stephanie E. ChangEmail author
  • Hadi Dowlatabadi
Part of the Advances in Spatial Science book series (ADVSPATIAL)


Transportation system disruption is widely recognized as a major source of spatial and economic impact in disasters, yet modeling these effects remains a challenge. This chapter develops a framework for modeling transport system disruption that is designed to support decision-making for disaster resilience. It focuses on a relatively simple yet vital transport system, coastal shipping, and its role in regional supply chains, particularly in the delivery of essential commodities to coastal communities in the aftermath of a disaster. Disruption to this system can quickly cause shortages of critical needs such as fuel, as modern supply chains have increasingly adopted just-in-time delivery models entailing little slack. To develop the framework, this chapter first reviews the empirical and modeling literature on the vulnerability of maritime transportation systems and supply chains to hazards such as earthquakes, storm surge, oil spills, and labor strikes. Findings indicate a need for integrated models of transportation, critical supply chains, and community demand. Such models should capture not only the physical vulnerability of key transportation assets, but also disruption modes, duration, and effects of planning and preparedness. The study further grounds the discussion in a case study region on the Pacific coast of Canada. Data, local knowledge, and contextualized insights are developed through expert interviews and stakeholder interactions. Findings indicate the importance of accounting for cargo type, directionality of flows, reserves, regulations, and other critical aspects when modeling potential disruptions to transportation systems and supply chains. The chapter proposes a modeling framework that is spatially explicit, functionally specified, and operationally oriented. The framework helps address a general need for disaster impact models that capture critical risk reduction and resilience-building strategies in ways that can support decision-makers in practice.



The authors are grateful to the emergency managers, maritime commerce representatives, and other experts who participated in this project. This study was funded by the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE). Bethany Dobson, Allanah Brown, Xuesi Shen, and Rodrigo Costa assisted with this study. Findings and opinions are the authors’ own.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP), Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES)University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES)University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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