Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Fragility of New York's Travel Network

The NY Times article that appeared yesterday had the terrific and terrifying title, "Bridge Fire Reveals the Fragility of New York's Travel Network," and demonstrated the major impact of a fire on July 10 (almost two weeks ago) started by a worker's blowtorch on the Throgs Neck Bridge that resulted not only in an immediate impact but one that has continued to this day. This bridge has been closed to traffic in both directions and this major artery that carries 112,000 vehicles on an average day between Queens and the Bronx severed. Our new book, "Fragile Networks: Identifying Vulnerabilities and Synergies in an Uncertain World," provides measures that identify the importance and rankings of nodes and links in transportation networks that capture the economic impact including the demands and flows (which here would include the 112,000 vehicles per day). Interestingly, throughout this NYTimes article key words from our book title, such as "fragile" and "vulnerability" kept on appearing.

UMass Amherst has a nice article on the publication of our book in In The Loop. The official press release was issued by UMass Amherst today.

With the deterioration of the infrastructure in the United States, it is time that we do the rebuilding and the building in a coherent, well-planned, transparent, and intelligent manner. The Throg's Neck Bridge incident is just another case of a local incident (the blowtorch fire) having a major impact on the network and its users! Let's identify what we need to protect and to secure, before it is too late.