Measuring the vulnerability of public transport networks

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

technology - geographic information systems, place - europe, place - low density, mode - subway/metro, infrastructure - station, planning - network design


Network vulnerability, Criticality, Public transport, GIS (Geographic Information Systems)


In the last years, studies on the vulnerability of public transport networks attract a growing attention because of the repercussions that incidents can have on the day-to-day functioning of a city. The aim of this paper is to develop a methodology for measuring public transport network vulnerability taking the Madrid Metro system as an example. The consequences of a disruptions of riding times or the number of missed trips are analysed for each of the network links with a full scan approach implemented in GIS (Geographic Information Systems). Using real trips distribution, each link in the network is measured for criticality, from which the vulnerability of lines and stations can be calculated. The proposed methodology also makes it possible to analyse the role of circular lines in network vulnerability and to obtain a worst-case scenario for the successive disruption of links by simulating a targeted attack on the network. Results show the presence of critical links in the southern part of the network, where line density is low and ridership high. They also highlight the importance of the circular line as an element of network robustness.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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