WIT Press

Evaluating The Risk Of A Terrorist Attack On A Cable-stayed Bridge: A Probabilistic, Structural Analysis Based Approach


Free (open access)








321 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


M. Bensi, B. Bhattacharya & M. J. Chajes


It is undeniable that the security environment in the United States has changed. Acts of terrorism in the U.S. and across the globe have warranted that particular attention be paid to the vulnerability of civil infrastructure in this new environment. As a result, it is important that planners and administrators are able to evaluate risks to infrastructure in their jurisdiction in a rational manner. This will enable them to take optimal actions to manage these risks given budgetary constraints. This paper develops a method for quantifying the vulnerability of infrastructure to attack and for examining the magnitude of consequences of such an attack. It includes consideration of uncertainty in the magnitude and type of initiating events. Structural reliability principles are used to ascertain the probabilistic nature of damage to a structure given the random initiating events. Consequences of infrastructure damage are considered in terms of various costs. A case study involving a fictionalized cable stayed bridge is illustrated in this paper. Keywords: risk, structural reliability, terrorism, vulnerability, bridge. 1 Introduction In recent years, terrorist attacks in the United States and across the globe have dramatically altered the security environment in counties around the world. This new environment has caused policy and decision makers to reassess the security and vulnerability of their jurisdictions. Civil infrastructure is among these vulnerabilities and it has been widely accepted in the civil engineering community that transportation infrastructure, specifically bridges and tunnels, are vulnerable to terrorist attacks. While in general the highway system in the


risk, structural reliability, terrorism, vulnerability, bridge.