Vulnerability of public transportation networks against directed attacks and cascading failures

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, place - urban, mode - bus, mode - tram/light rail, mode - rail, mode - subway/metro, planning - methods, planning - terrorism


Public transport system, Network analysis, Vulnerability, Cascading failure


This paper presents some results devoted to providing network analysis functionalities for vulnerability assessment in public transportation networks with respect to disruptive events and/or targeted attacks to stations. The results have been obtained on two public transportation networks: the bus network in Florence, Italy, and the transportation network in the Attika region, Greece. The analysis implements a topological approach, based on graph theory, using a multi-graph to model public transportation networks and analyse vulnerabilities with respect to the removal of one or more of their components. Both directed attacks and cascading failures are considered. While the first type of disruptive events is related to a static analysis, where nodes are removed according to a rank related to some centrality measures, the second type is related to a dynamic analysis, where a failure cascade is simulated making unavailable the node with the highest betweenness value. Vulnerability measures are computed as loss of connectivity and efficiency, with respect to both the two different types of disruptive events considered. This study allows to evidence potential vulnerabilities of the urban networks, that must be considered to support the planning process into the creation of resilient structures.


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