Vulnerability assessment of urban rail transit in face of disruptions: A framework and some lessons from Hong Kong

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - station, land use - impacts, land use - planning, mode - mass transit, mode - rail, place - asia, place - urban, planning - methods, land use - transit oriented development


Urban, rail transit, vunerability, disruptions


Transport systems are confronting challenges under disruptive events. In transit-oriented cities, the heavy reliance on urban railways makes the transport system ever more vulnerable. Extant literature has paid much attention to urban rail transit vulnerability and resilience against natural disasters. Yet, less focus has been put on disturbances caused by people. In this study, by integrating the on- and off-road situations, we assess the urban rail transit vulnerability under the Anti-extradition Law Amendment Bill (Anti-ELAB) movement in Hong Kong in 2019, during which the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) services were severely disrupted. Our results show that very highly vulnerable stations are spatially concentrated in traditional urban core areas. It is also observed that roads around some new town stations became more congested during service disruption. When disruptive events occurred during non-peak hours, the level of congestion in more than half of stations’ ambient roads did not show significant changes. This study sets forth a rail transit vulnerability assessment matrix and suggests that future assessments of transport vulnerability should take a more holistic approach and consider both on- and off-road traffic situations. The findings also provide directions for building resilient cities in the future.


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


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