Determining Critical Locations in Indianola, IA

We are members of the Bryan Summer Research Program. This program has been funded by Simpson alums Dr. Albert and Greta Bryan. Specifically, we are working with Dr. Deb Czarneski on identifying critical locations in a city. Our research is based on the work of Urska Demsar, Olga Spatenkova and Kirsi Virrantaus in their paper, Identifying Critical Locations in a Spatial Network with Graph Theory. These researchers worked to find critical locations in the city of Helsinki, Finland. We plan to implement some of their methods in the map of Indianola.

Critical locations are defined as areas in infrastructure that are important to the navigation of a city. Once these locations are removed, the navigation of the city is disrupted. For example, if a bridge over a river was removed, it would be more difficult and perhaps impossible to navigate across the river. We will be using graph theory to determine these critical locations. Graph theory is the study of the relationships between objects in a given problem. Often, vertices represent these objects and edges correspond to the relationships between them. In our application, the vertices represent road segments and the edges represent intersections between these road segments.

Through computer programming, we are working to implement algorithms that calculate the importance of given vertices. We plan to use cut vertices and the centrality measure of betweenness to determine their individual importance. Our research can be used to prepare for acts of terrorism or natural disasters. It also allows for efficient repair of the navigation of a city.

~Casey Croson, Louis Joslyn, and Sara Reed