Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

Anthony Chen


Anthony Chen


Kevin P. Heaslip


Jagath J. Kaluarachchi


Marvin W. Halling


Keith M. Christensen


Freight transportation networks are an important component of everyday life in modern society. Disruption to these networks can make peoples’ daily lives extremely difficult as well as seriously cripple economic productivity. This dissertation develops a quantitative framework for assessing vulnerability and redundancy of freight transportation networks. The framework consists of three major contributions: (1) a two- stage approach for estimating a statewide truck origin-destination (O-D) trip table, (2) a decision support tool for assessing vulnerability of freight transportation networks, and (3) a quantitative approach for measuring redundancy of freight transportation networks.
The dissertation first proposes a two-stage approach to estimate a statewide truck O-D trip table. The proposed approach is supported by two sequential stages: the first stage estimates a commodity-based truck O-D trip table using the commodity flows derived from the Freight Analysis Framework (FAF) database, and the second stage uses the path flow estimator (PFE) concept to refine the truck trip table obtained from the first stage using the truck counts from the statewide truck count program. The model allows great flexibility of incorporating data at different spatial levels for estimating the truck O- D trip table. The results from the second stage provide us a better understanding of truck flows on the statewide truck routes and corridors, and allow us to better manage the anticipated impacts caused by network disruptions.
A decision support tool is developed to facilitate the decision making system through the application of its database management capabilities, graphical user interface, GIS-based visualization, and transportation network vulnerability analysis. The vulnerability assessment focuses on evaluating the statewide truck-freight bottlenecks/chokepoints. This dissertation proposes two quantitative measures: O-D connectivity (or detour route) in terms of distance and freight flow pattern change in terms of vehicle miles traveled (VMT). The case study adopts a “what-if” analysis approach by generating the disruption scenarios of the structurally deficient bridges in Utah due to earthquakes. In addition, the potential impacts of disruptions to multiple bridges in both rural and urban areas are evaluated and compared to the single bridge failure scenarios.
This dissertation also proposes an approach to measure the redundancy of freight transportation networks based on two main dimensions: route diversity and network spare capacity. The route diversity dimension is used to evaluate the existence of multiple efficient routes available for users or the degree of connections between a specific O-D pair. The network spare capacity dimension is used to quantify the network- wide spare capacity with an explicit consideration of congestion effect. These two dimensions can complement each other by providing a two-dimensional characterization of freight transportation network redundancy. Case studies of the Utah statewide transportation network and coal multimodal network are conducted to demonstrate the features of the vulnerability and redundancy measures and the applicability of the quantitative assessment methodology.