Responding to the Unexpected: Understanding Travelers' Behavioral Choices in the Wake of the I-35W Bridge Collapse

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 - 4:15pm

About the Event

This seminar will summarize a research project that aimed to collect perishable traffic data in the wake of the collapse of the Interstate Highway 35W bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. The goal is to understand travelers' behavioral choices and how traffic evolves from a disequilibrium state to potential equilibria.

The bridge collapse resulted in immediate loss of life and also in serious consequences for mobility and accessibility in the Twin Cities metropolitan region. Under such a severe network disruption, the traffic equilibrium was disturbed and travelers needed to learn new traffic patterns. Eventually network traffic may evolve into a new equilibrium, or may remain in a disordered state. Understanding the transition and learning processes of travelers' behavioral responses are essential to effective traffic management after network disruption and for long-term transportation planning.


Henry Liu, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota