The impact of natural hazards on transport infrastructure and human mobility

Theme: Natural & Biological Hazards

Primary Supervisor:

Chen Zhong

Geography, KCL

Secondary Supervisor:

Bruce Malamud

Geography, KCL

Project Description:

Studies on the vulnerability and resilience of urban transport networks to natural hazards has attracted growing attention because of the crucial role of these networks in the day-to-day functioning of a city. Many natural hazards (e.g., flooding, earthquakes, extreme temperature) can impact a given part of an urban area, resulting in serious transport disruptions. These disruptions potentially affect not only the given region of the city, but also indirectly geographical areas outside this area. This PhD project will develop a methodology for assessing and modelling the impact of selected hydro-meteorological hazards on intra-city travels using open source meteorology data and human mobility data. The human-mobility data will focus on mining automatic mobility data such as smart-card data that records an individual’s daily travel with fine granularity. Initial suggestions for case study cities are in the UK or China, but there will be room for discussion on this with the supervisors (and will depend on the availability of data in the specific localities chosen). There are a number of pathways to completing this PhD, but one suggestion is as follows: (i) Critical literature review of current studies. (ii) Examine case examples of a given hazard’s impact on the transport infrastructure and human mobility in a given part of the city (and any indirect impacts on other parts of the city), including a quantification of the social and economic impacts of the transport disruption on the region. (iii) Develop computational simulations of given hazard events and corresponding transport and human mobility disruption. Outputs might include: (i) deriving measures for evaluating the vulnerability/resilience of urban transport systems in response to natural hazards; (ii) a model for transport and human mobility disruption scenarios as a result of given natural hazards.

Policy Impact of Research:

This project will develop methods and prototype tools for natural hazard risk assessment of transport systems (both infrastructure and human mobility). The work is expected to directly link to transport agencies in given case-study cities, supporting transport system management in the event of a natural hazard and enhancing transport planning by including suitable risk reduction strategies.


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