Stress testing

Type of performance efficiency testing conducted to evaluate an asset or system’s performance under conditions beyond specified requirements.


1. In laboratory conditions stress testing may be used to study the behaviour and performance of a material, structure or system under conditions of a pre-defined risk to evaluate its vulnerability and resilience.

2. In disaster risk reduction, stress testing is an analysis of potential response and/or reaction of the system to adverse or demanding circumstances.


Modified from ISO (2022): ISO/IEC/IEEE 29119-1 (en): Software and systems engineering — Software testing — Part 1: General concepts: 3.79.


EU-funded INFRARISK project, entitled “Novel Indicators for Identifying Critical Infrastructure at Risk from Natural Hazards”: Stress Testing

INFRARISK (INFRAstructure at RISK from Natural Hazards) is a European Commission-funded project that aims to support the decision-making process for protection of critical infrastructure by providing infrastructure owners and managers with the support tools and methods to analyze potential impacts of extreme natural hazards. To this end, INFRARISK developed reliable stress tests for critical European road and rail infrastructure. It proposed a framework that can be used to perform stress tests for distributed road and rail networks. This can be employed to evaluate potential losses associated with the occurrence of intensive disaster risk scenarios for road and rail infrastructure. Extreme, low probability hazard scenarios, including earthquakes and floods, and cascading hazard scenarios can be analyzed using novel methods proposed in this methodology.

As a part of the project, a case study was conducted in the province of Bologna, a seismically active region in Italy. Stress tests were performed for the 3,410km of road networks in terms of seismic hazard and the associated cascading hazard of earthquake-triggered landslides, using the framework developed by INFRARISK. The impacts were analyzed according to direct consequences and additional consequences to society. To support this stress test framework by assessing potential cascading risks from natural hazards to critical infrastructure, an online INFRARISK Decision Support Tool (IDST) was also developed.