UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Urban change and transportation vulnerability to earthquakes : the case of Metro Vancouver Pathman, Karthick


A convergence of several factors has made Metro Vancouver’s transportation system vulnerable to earthquakes. Unfortunately, traditional post-disaster evaluations are often inadequate as they undervalue regional dimensions of transportation quality. After a fairly basic examination of ten of Metro Vancouver’s critical pieces of bridge infrastructure, results suggest that the transportation system will perform reasonably well when exposed to earthquakes with magnitudes between 4 and 8. However, certain damage outcomes leave many areas with limited accessibility. In particular, the simple sampling analysis suggests that the four most frequent damage outcomes - the loss of the Lion’s Gate, Oak Street, Arthur Laing, and Alex Fraser Bridges, respectively - present some interesting results. The Oak Street and Arthur Laing Bridge damage outcomes appear to cause minimal travel disruption likely due to relatively high levels of network redundancy. Conversely, the loss of the Lion’s Gate Bridge produces relatively much harsher diminished transportation performance. Furthermore, after observing transportation performance over time between 2004 and 2021, it would appear the region is at risk of suffering from diminished transportation quality as a consequence of land-use changes. These could have significant social and economical consequences. Overall, perhaps the most valuable output of this research is the formulation of a methodological framework to study post-earthquake transportation performance in Metro Vancouver. Another novelty of this research is the comparative study of earthquake risks in past and future regional environments. The paper also proposes some new methods for reducing post-earthquake transportation disruption. In particular this research suggests the use of targeted transportation demand management (TDM) policies to reduce strain on transportation networks prior to and following an earthquake. These are policies that could be included in municipal or regional disaster management and transportation planning frameworks.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International