The Bartlett School of Planning


Yuerong Zhang

Research subjects

Thesis title: Towards better understanding of metro system resilience from joint perspectives: an intra-urban study of Greater London

Primary supervisor: Professor Stephen Marshall
Secondary supervisor: Dr Ed Manley
Sponsor: ORS (Overseas research Scholarship)

Starting date: 28th September 2016

Underground networks’ resilience in response to uncertainties and challenges is imperative in maintaining urban functionality under service disruptions. In case of poor resilience, a flood may cause malfunction of London underground and loss of more than £0.75m per day. However, current studies are limited to addressing traffic efficiency, and ignoring themes such as disasters and socio-economics. Therefore, this research aims to provide more complete insights and assessment of the underground networks’ resilience. The research starts by a more comprehensive definition of underground resilience through literature review, integrating traffic efficiency with new dimensions of environment and socio-economics. It then describes the resilience performance of the London underground networks with clustering quantitative methods (oyster data from TfL, Census data from ONS), and identifies the most vulnerable areas using a resilience index developed by the author. Finally, it proposes optimal solutions to improve the adaptability of these areas by factor and scenario analysis. Theoretically, this research is the first to look at underground railway networks’ resilience with multi-perspectives. Practically, it provides strategic development insights to resilient transport planning, which are crucial not only to established systems such as London, but to cities around the world undergoing extreme urban growth and new metro systems.



Yuerong Zhang completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Planning and Design at Tianjin University in 2014, and went on to gain her master in Transport and City Planning in 2015 at the UCL Bartlett School of Planning. During her master studies she developed her interest in the relations between street patterns and traffic flow, and completed her master thesis titled “A comparison on a set of topological representations for predicting traffic flow in small-scale urban network in central London. Before returning to UCL to pursue a PhD in Planning studies, Yuerong worked as an urban designer in Northeastern Architecture Institute.


Yuerong intends to further develop her academic interest in applying network perspective to understand the public transport system and street networks to improve the understanding of complex transport systems and thus to shed light on transport management and planning. She is also interested in assessing and improving the resilience and robustness of public transport system.