Transportation Network Vulnerability and Accessibility for Critical Amenities during Flooding: A Case Study for Iowa

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Yazeed Alabbad, Jerry Mount, Ann Melissa Campbell, Ibrahim Demir


Natural disasters, such as flooding, can cause severe social, environmental, and economic damage to a community. Transportation infrastructure plays an essential role in flood response and recovery efforts. However, flooding may disturb road functionality and generate direct and indirect adverse impacts, including the loss of access to essential services. This paper presents a comprehensive analysis of flood impacts on road network topology and accessibility to amenities for major communities in the State of Iowa using graph-theoretic methods, including single-source shortest path analyses. We assessed the disruption of transportation networks on the accessibility to critical amenities (e.g., hospitals) under 100 and 500-year flood scenarios. Our analysis methodology leads toward the development of an integrated real-time decision support system that will allow decision-makers to explore “what if” flood scenarios to identify vulnerable areas and population in their authority. Due to varying environmental conditions at specific locations and effects on road topology under flood events, the results show differential impacts in edge and node losses as well as access to critical services. Results indicate that floods can lead to edge losses of up to 18%, and not only large cities but also some small cities can experience significant vulnerability to flooding. Some new or reconstructed bridges have failed to operate during analyzed flood events. Many critical amenities have been found at risk of flooding in the studied cities.



Civil and Environmental Engineering, Civil Engineering, Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Hydraulic Engineering, Other Civil and Environmental Engineering, Risk Analysis, Transportation Engineering


accessibility, flood resilience, location allocation, real-time analytics, Transportation vulnerability


Published: 2020-08-16 12:42

Last Updated: 2021-04-02 17:02

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International