The weakest link: The decline of the surface transportation network

Feng Xie, David Levinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


This study explores the economic mechanisms behind the decline of a surface transportation network, based on the assumption that the decline phase is a spontaneous process driven by decentralized decisions of individual travelers and privatized links. A simulation model is developed with a degeneration process by which the weakest link is removed iteratively from the network. Experiments reveal how the economic efficiency of a network evolves during the degeneration process and suggest an "optimal" degenerated network could be derived during the decline phase in terms of maximizing total social welfare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-113
Number of pages14
JournalTransportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Accessibility
  • Decline
  • Simulation
  • Transportation network
  • Welfare

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