Articles | Volume 10, issue 6
17 Jun 2010
 | 17 Jun 2010

Quantitative assessment of direct and indirect landslide risk along transportation lines in southern India

P. Jaiswal, C. J. van. Westen, and V. Jetten

Abstract. A quantitative approach for landslide risk assessment along transportation lines is presented and applied to a road and a railway alignment in the Nilgiri hills in southern India. The method allows estimating direct risk affecting the alignments, vehicles and people, and indirect risk resulting from the disruption of economic activities. The data required for the risk estimation were obtained from historical records. A total of 901 landslides were catalogued initiating from cut slopes along the railway and road alignment. The landslides were grouped into three magnitude classes based on the landslide type, volume, scar depth, run-out distance, etc and their probability of occurrence was obtained using frequency-volume distribution. Hazard, for a given return period, expressed as the number of landslides of a given magnitude class per kilometre of cut slopes, was obtained using Gumbel distribution and probability of landslide magnitude. In total 18 specific hazard scenarios were generated using the three magnitude classes and six return periods (1, 3, 5, 15, 25, and 50 years). The assessment of the vulnerability of the road and railway line was based on damage records whereas the vulnerability of different types of vehicles and people was subjectively assessed based on limited historic incidents. Direct specific loss for the alignments (railway line and road), vehicles (train, bus, lorry, car and motorbike) was expressed in monetary value (US$), and direct specific loss of life of commuters was expressed in annual probability of death. Indirect specific loss (US$) derived from the traffic interruption was evaluated considering alternative driving routes, and includes losses resulting from additional fuel consumption, additional travel cost, loss of income to the local business, and loss of revenue to the railway department. The results indicate that the total loss, including both direct and indirect loss, from 1 to 50 years return period, varies from US$ 90 840 to US$ 779 500 and the average annual total loss was estimated as US$ 35 000. The annual probability of a person most at risk travelling in a bus, lorry, car, motorbike and train is less than 10-4/annum in all the time periods considered. The detailed estimation of direct and indirect risk will facilitate developing landslide risk mitigation and management strategies for transportation lines in the study area.