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Evaluation of the optimal resilience for vulnerable infrastructure networks



Maggi R.


Masiero L.



Reliable infrastructure networks are essential to the proper functioning of a contemporary society and economy. Events such as the power failure on the SBB (Swiss Federal Railways) rail network or the closure of the Gotthard motorway due to rockfalls and landslides have driven home this fact to broad sections of the population.Yet, any amount of expenditure or technical precautions will never completely rule out the possibility of such events. The present shortage of resources calls for a shift in focus from isolated hazards affecting certain sections of the infrastructure to the performance of the overall network.

Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, the project will examine various natural and man-made hazards and use risk analyses to forecast likely damage. The cost of measures aimed at curbing potential losses will then be estimated. The utility of such action may be equated to the anticipated damage reduction. This will allow a systematic cost-benefit analysis of individual measures. The project aims to develop an instrument to assess the cost and utility of measures for minimizing infrastructure vulnerability and to test this in practice on the example of the Gotthard transport axis.
Methodologically, the project comprises a geoscientific and an economic component. The geoscientific study will investigate (natural) hazards and their implications for infrastructure vulnerability. In addition, measures aimed at reducing the damage potential of the individual hazards will be assessed.The economic analysis will compare the costs of these measures to the derived utility.The results will be used to develop an instrument that weighs the cost of measures against their benefits, as part of a model for the optimization of transport infrastructure performance.
The proper functioning of present-day society depends on the smooth operation of key infrastructure networks. Any faults in or disruption to these systems adversely impact the economy, the environment and, with them, public welfare. For diverse reasons, however, damage to infrastructure and its consequences cannot be fully eliminated. The project will frame an approach for the assessment of measures designed to optimize the performance of infrastructure systems.

Additional information

Start date
End date
24 Months
Funding sources
Swiss National Science Foundation / NRP - National Research Programmes