Evaluating road network damage caused by natural disasters in the Czech Republic between 1997 and 2010
Road networks play a vital role in maintaining a functioning modern society. Many events perceptibly affect the transport supply along these networks, especially natural disasters such as floods, landslides, and earthquakes. Contrary to more common disruptions of traffic from accidents, or maintenance closures, natural disasters are capable of destroying large numbers of roads and usually cover vast areas. When evaluating network damage no single measure alone is able to describe the full extent of network destruction. In this study, we investigated six highly damaging natural disasters, which occurred in the Czech Republic between 1997 and 2010. They were all induced by extreme rainfall or by rapid snowmelt and resulted in floods and landslides. Their impacts are evaluated with respect to the damage to road networks and decreased serviceability. For mutual comparison of the impacts and their analysis we used several criteria, described in the paper, related to economic impacts, physical harm to individuals and infrastructures, and the effects on connectivity and serviceability. We also introduced a new measure based on the network efficiency index which takes into account the importance of nodes based on their population. Moreover, we provide a detailed analysis of one such event in July 1997 that significantly affected the road network of the Zlín region.