On decision optimality of terrorism risk mitigation measures for iconic bridges

Sebastian Thöns*, Mark G. Stewart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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This paper describes the assessment of the cost efficiency of risk mitigation strategies for terrorist attacks with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) for an iconic bridge structure. The assessment is performed with a decision theoretical framework building upon very recent advances in the COST Action TU1402 on Quantifying the Value of Structural Heath Monitoring. The decision scenario is formulated for a decision maker constituting an authority responsible for the societal safety of the infrastructure and consequently the direct risks for the infrastructure owner and the indirect risk due to fatalities and importance of the infrastructure are considered. The mitigation strategies are classified within the decision theoretical context as prior analyses for the assessment of protection strategies and as control strategies requiring a pre-posterior decision analysis. The identification of efficient risk mitigation strategies is based (1) on the risk and expected cost based optimization of actions and information and their combination before implementation, (2) on quantifying and ensuring the significance in risk and expected cost reduction and (3) on quantifying and ensuring a high probability of cost efficiency. These criteria, i.e. the optimality, significance and efficiency ensure the performance of the strategies at the decision point in time before implementation. It is found that the strategies are relying on the identification of the threat level and that control strategies are in favor as their significance and probability of efficiency are higher and their costs are adjustable. However, for high threat levels, both the bridge protection strategies and control strategies are cost efficient.
Original languageEnglish
JournalReliability Engineering & System Safety
Pages (from-to)574-583
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Bayesian probability, utility and decision analysis
  • Decision optimality
  • Risk reduction
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Value of information


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