Towards cross-sector risk management in Swedish critical infrastructures

Tove Rydén Sonesson, Jonas Johansson

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Modern societies have come to depend on certain vital services, such as electricity, transportation and information, and a loss of their continuous supply would affect the modern citizen far more than his or her 19th century counterpart (Boin et al., 2003). Past disruptive events have, furthermore, highlighted the existence of dependencies between the systems that sustain these services, commonly referred to as critical infrastructures (Buldyrev et al., 2010). As a consequence, a disruption in one infrastructure system might propagate to others through, so called, cascading effects enhancing its overall consequences (Johansson & Hassel, 2010). Due to these cascades, and processes such as fragmentation and privatization, the infrastructures involved in such a disruption are, furthermore, governed by a large number of heterogenous – public and private – actors with sometimes conflicting goals (Cedergren, Lidell & Lidell, 2019). Consequently, while society has grown more vulnerable to infrastructure disruptions, the infrastructure systems and governance situation has also grown to be more complex. To convincingly describe the overall societal effects of a critical infrastructure disruption, their dependent behavior must be considered, and, preferably, incorporated in a joint cross-sector risk management process. As a step towards enabling this end goal. A system-of-systems model of two Swedish national critical infrastructures, namely the national power transmission system (PTS), and an electricity-dependent national backbone information and communication system (ICS), has been constructed. A generic modelling approach was chosen. It extends on current topological approaches by incorporating capacity flow constraints to capture the salient properties of technical infrastructures. This approach allowed us to populate the model using real-life data, and reduce the computational cost of the simulations. The model was used to perform a number of disruption simulations. From the simulations we found that, the dependent ICS deteriorate far more rapidly than in the non-dependent case. Consequently, the dependency from the ICS to the PTS increases its vulnerability substantially. Furthermore, when disturbing solely the PTS components, we saw an asymmetry between the magnitude of the consequences in the two systems where the consequences to the ICS was generally higher than for the PTS.These results highlight that the vulnerability issues seen in previous studies are also prevalent in a Swedish infrastructure context. Future research will study these issues further, by adding more infrastructures to the model, and by applying a more decision-centered approach to better connect the simulation results to the real governance situation that they aim to inform. Applying this governance lens to the very technical modelling and simulation approach is a rather novel approach that can contribute to the field. ReferencesBoin, A., Lagadec, P., Michel-Kerjan, E., & Overdijk, W. (2003). “Critical infrastructures under threat: Learning from the Anthrax scare”. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 11(3), 99–104.Buldyrev, S. V, Parshani, R., Paul, G., Stanley, H. E., & Havlin, S. (2010). “Catastrophic cascade of failures in interdependent networks”. Nature, 464(7291), 1025–1028. Cedergren, A., Lidell, K., & Lidell, K. (2019). “Critical infrastructures and the tragedy of the commons dilemma: Implications from institutional restructuring on reliability and safety”. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 1–11. Johansson, J., & Hassel, H. (2010). “An approach for modelling interdependent infrastructures in the context of vulnerability analysis”. Reliability Engineering and System Safety, 95(12), 1335–1344.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event5th Society for Risk Analysis Europe Nordic Chapter Conference - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 2019 Jun 62019 Jun 8
Conference number: 5


Conference5th Society for Risk Analysis Europe Nordic Chapter Conference
Abbreviated titleSRA-E Nordic
Internet address

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Infrastructure Engineering


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