Exploring the relationships between the topological characteristics of subway networks and service disruption impact

Zhiru Wang, Wubin Ma, Albert Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Although numerous studies have considered the topological characteristics and the impact of disruptions in subway systems, their results have not been verified by empirical data. To address this limitation, we used a data set containing 392 detailed records of disruptions to subway services in Beijing from 2011 to 2017. The Spearman rank correlation coefficient analysis results indicate that the delay duration exhibits no significant relationship with the topological characteristics, whereas the reverse is true for the relationship between the number of affected trains and the topological characteristics. The results also demonstrate that subway network expansion will not result in a paradox between convenience and vulnerability from an actual data perspective. Moreover, contrary to previous research results, no significant relationship was found to exist between service interruption impact and the transit and key bridge stations. However, a high degree of clustering, characterized by redundant tracks between neighbours, tends to provide protection against service disruption for stations. In terms of the spatial variation, the influence of the disruption is greater when the station is further from the centre of the line. These results can support sustainable design in subway network planning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3960
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


  • Service disruption
  • Subway network
  • Sustainability design
  • System vulnerability
  • Topological characteristics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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