Towards understanding critical flows - a literature review

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceedingpeer-review


Critical infrastructure such as transportation, power, telecommunication and water supply systems accommodate and enable flows of essential goods and services that modem societies are highly dependent upon. These critical flows connect countries, organizations and communities, and are imperative for upholding vital societal functions. Disruptions of such flows hold the potential of severe and potentially cascading consequences spanning large geo-graphical areas. The increasing size and interconnectedness of infrastructure systems and global supply chains in combination with the fragmented responsibility between actors leads to challenges in addressing such flows and their associated risks holistically. These flows are moreover highly interconnected and dependent upon each other. In this paper we present a literature review of 477 articles focused on research on critical flows. Aiming at creating a common point of departure and basis for future research in the field and to more clearly delineate the concept of critical flows. "While having strong links to, or constitute part of, established research areas such as Critical Infra-structure Protection (CIP), Security of Supply (SOS) and Supply Chain Management (SCM), we stress that critical flows are becoming an increasingly valuable notion in its own right in safety and resilience research. It is concluded that a holistic meso perspective, which is advocated for, of critical flows shows promise and several research gaps exist regarding understanding the form and function of critical flows.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 30th European Safety and Reliability Conference and the 15th Probabilistic Safety Assessment and Management Conference
EditorsPiero Baraldi, Francesco Di Maio, Enrico Zio
PublisherResearch Publishing, Singapore
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9789811485930
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event30th European Safety and Reliability Conference, ESREL 2020 and 15th Probabilistic Safety Assessment and Management Conference, PSAM15 2020 - Venice, Italy
Duration: 2020 Nov 12020 Nov 5


Conference30th European Safety and Reliability Conference, ESREL 2020 and 15th Probabilistic Safety Assessment and Management Conference, PSAM15 2020

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering

Free keywords

  • Critical Flows
  • Critical Infrastructures
  • Critical societal functions
  • Interdependency
  • Resilience
  • Security of Supply
  • Supply chains


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