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The traffic and behavioral effects of the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse


  • Zhu, Shanjiang
  • Levinson, David
  • Liu, Henry X.
  • Harder, Kathleen


On August 1, 2007, the collapse of the I-35W bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis abruptly interrupted the usual route of about 140,000 daily vehicle trips, which substantially disturbed regular traffic flow patterns on the network. It took several weeks for the network to re-equilibrate, during which period travelers continued to learn and adjust their travel decisions. A good understanding of this process is crucial for traffic management and the design of mitigation schemes. Data from loop-detectors, bus ridership statistics, and a survey are analyzed and compared, revealing the evolving traffic reactions to the bridge collapse and how individual choices could help to explain such dynamics. Findings on short-term traffic dynamics and behavioral reactions to this major network disruption have important implications for traffic management in response to future scenarios.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhu, Shanjiang & Levinson, David & Liu, Henry X. & Harder, Kathleen, 2010. "The traffic and behavioral effects of the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 44(10), pages 771-784, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:44:y:2010:i:10:p:771-784

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Levinson & Kathleen Harder & John Bloomfield & Kathy Carlson, 2006. "Waiting Tolerance: Ramp Delay vs. Freeway Congestion," Working Papers 200602, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
    2. David A. Hensher & Ann M. Brewer, 2002. "Going for gold at the Sydney Olympics: How did transport perform?," Transport Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(4), pages 381-399, January.
    3. P.B. Goodwin, 1977. "Habit and Hysteresis in Mode Choice," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 14(1), pages 95-98, February.
    4. Agachai Sumalee & Fumitaka Kurauchi, 2006. "Network Capacity Reliability Analysis Considering Traffic Regulation after a Major Disaster," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 205-219, September.
    5. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. DiPietro, Gwen Shepherd & Scott Matthews, H. & Hendrickson, Chris T., 2014. "Estimating economic and resilience consequences of potential navigation infrastructure failures: A case study of the Monongahela River," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 142-164.
    2. Danczyk, Adam & Di, Xuan & Liu, Henry X. & Levinson, David M., 2017. "Unexpected versus expected network disruption: Effects on travel behavior," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 68-78.
    3. Shanjiang Zhu & David Levinson & Henry Liu, 2017. "Measuring winners and losers from the new I-35W Mississippi River Bridge," Transportation, Springer, vol. 44(5), pages 905-918, September.
    4. Shanjiang Zhu & David Levinson, 2015. "Do People Use the Shortest Path? An empirical test of Wardrop's first principle," Working Papers 000059, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
    5. Faturechi, Reza & Miller-Hooks, Elise, 2014. "Travel time resilience of roadway networks under disaster," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 47-64.
    6. Erik Jenelius & Lars-Göran Mattsson, 2011. "The impact of network density, travel and location patterns on regional road network vulnerability," ERSA conference papers ersa10p448, European Regional Science Association.
    7. Sevcíková, Hana & Raftery, Adrian E. & Waddell, Paul A., 2011. "Uncertain benefits: Application of Bayesian melding to the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 45(6), pages 540-553, July.
    8. repec:kap:transp:v:44:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s11116-016-9699-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Kumar, Amit & Peeta, Srinivas, 2015. "A day-to-day dynamical model for the evolution of path flows under disequilibrium of traffic networks with fixed demand," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 235-256.
    10. Jenelius, Erik & Mattsson, Lars-Göran, 2012. "Road network vulnerability analysis of area-covering disruptions: A grid-based approach with case study," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 46(5), pages 746-760.
    11. Bagloee, Saeed Asadi & Sarvi, Majid & Wolshon, Brian & Dixit, Vinayak, 2017. "Identifying critical disruption scenarios and a global robustness index tailored to real life road networks," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 60-81.

    More about this item


    I-35W bridge collapse Travel behavior Travel survey;

    JEL classification:

    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement


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