Optimal and Near-Optimal Resource Allocation for Transportation Infrastructure Protection

Available Documents
Quarterly Report October 2003
Quarterly Report March 2004
Quarterly Report September 2004
Quarterly Report March 2005
Quarterly Report June 2005
Quarterly Report June 2006
Quarterly Report June 2007
Quarterly Report September 2007
Quarterly Report December 2007
Quarterly Report March 2008
Quarterly Report June 2008
Quarterly Report September 2009
Final Report

Primary Investigator
Prof. Vicki Bier, Director
1513 University Avenue, Room 451
Center for Human Performance and Risk Analysis
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI 53706

Project Objective
The work proposed here will explore applications of game theory, optimization, and
demonstrably near-optimal heuristics to modeling defense against security threats to networked transportation systems and to help in identifying optimal strategies for allocating resources among various possible defensive investments.

Project Abstract
The novel feature of the approach adopted here is the combined use of risk [j1]analysis methods with game theory and optimization methods to study management of intentional threats to networked transportation systems. The intent is to provide qualitative guidelines for optimal investment of resources to manage intentional threats to such systems. By contrast, much of the literature on security to date has not considered complex networked systems, often focusing on individual targets viewed as being independent of each other. Thus, we propose to extend and adapt the existing body of game-theoretic work on security to apply it to networked systems with complex series/parallel structures, which have not yet been addressed extensively in the literature. The results of this project will yield insights into the optimal defensive investments in networked transportation systems that yield the best tradeoff between the cost of the investments and the security of the resulting system.

Task Descriptions

  1. Task 1 – Literature review on transportation security
  2. Task 2 – Development of analytical models for optimal resource allocation
  3. Task 3 – Illustrative case studies
  4. Task 4 – Preparation of final report

Relationship to Other Research Projects

Technology Transfer Activities
The results of this research will be shared with relevant government agencies. The investigator will also disseminate the results at a number of interdisciplinary conferences and workshops. The exact workshops to take place during the period of the proposed research are not yet known.

Potential Benefits of the Project
Answering how the optimal allocation of resources in defensive investments depends on features such as the series/parallel structure of the transportation network, the cost-effectiveness of alternative infrastructure protection investments, and the objective functions and constraints describing the behavior and goals of both the attacker and the defender. An additional benefit will be to introduce game-theoretic ways of thinking about risk into the transportation community, where such methods have not been widely used.

Project Information

  • Duration: June 1, 2003, until August 31, 2004
  • Budget: $90,296
  • Student Involvement: 1 Graduate student assistant
  • TRB Keywords: Infrastructure security, defense, risk analysis, resource allocation
  • Primary Subject: Risk analysis and resource allocation for transportation infrastructure
  • Modal Orientation: All
  • Project Number: 04-05