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

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)771-784
Number of pages14
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • I-35W bridge collapse
  • Travel behavior
  • Travel survey


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