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Measuring post-disaster transportation system performance: the 1995 Kobe earthquake in comparative perspective


  • Chang, Stephanie E.
  • Nojima, Nobuoto


Recent earthquake disasters have caused major damage to transportation networks, leading to significant economic disruption. While this suggests the need to evaluate total system performance in transportation risk assessment, in addition to examining the vulnerability of individual components such as bridges, no appropriate measures currently exist. This paper develops post-disaster system performance measures and applies them to the urban rail and highway transportation systems in the Kobe, Japan, region devastated by the 1995 Hyogoken-Nanbu earthquake. Performance is evaluated in terms of network coverage and transport accessibility. Performance degradation was much more severe for highways and railways than for other lifeline infrastructure systems. Both transportation systems fared poorly in the disaster but service restoration proceeded much more rapidly for rail. The restoration of highway system performance correlated closely with the recovery of highway traffic volumes. The paper further develops a measure of subarea transport accessibility and applies this to Kobe's constituent city wards. Results indicate substantial spatial disparity that is maintained throughout the restoration period. Comparisons with the 1989 Loma Prieta and 1994 Northridge earthquakes in the US show that although these disasters caused notable damage to highway bridges, system performance degradation was small in comparison with the Kobe experience. The paper argues that explicitly measuring transportation system performance can greatly facilitate both understanding the effects of historic disasters and preparing for future hazard events.

Suggested Citation

  • Chang, Stephanie E. & Nojima, Nobuoto, 2001. "Measuring post-disaster transportation system performance: the 1995 Kobe earthquake in comparative perspective," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 475-494, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:35:y:2001:i:6:p:475-494

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Allen, W. Bruce & Liu, Dong & Singer, Scott, 1993. "Accesibility measures of U.S. metropolitan areas," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 439-449, December.
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    10. Sohn, Jungyul, 2006. "Evaluating the significance of highway network links under the flood damage: An accessibility approach," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 491-506, July.
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    13. Bíl, Michal & Vodák, Rostislav & Kubeček, Jan & Bílová, Martina & Sedoník, Jiří, 2015. "Evaluating road network damage caused by natural disasters in the Czech Republic between 1997 and 2010," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 90-103.
    14. Altay, Nezih & Green III, Walter G., 2006. "OR/MS research in disaster operations management," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 175(1), pages 475-493, November.
    15. Chen, Albert Y. & Yu, Ting-Yi, 2016. "Network based temporary facility location for the Emergency Medical Services considering the disaster induced demand and the transportation infrastructure in disaster response," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 408-423.
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