This paper deals with the problem of survivable routing and wavelength assignment in layer 1 virtual private networks (VPNs). The main idea is routing the selected lightpaths by the layer 1 VPN customer, in a link-disjoint manner. The customer may freely identify some sites or some connections, and have their related lightpaths routed through link-disjoint paths through the provider's network. This selective survivability idea creates a new perspective for survivable routing, by giving the customer the flexibility of selecting important elements (nodes or connections) in its network. This study is different from previous studies which aim to solve the survivable routing problem for the whole VPN topology. The proposed scheme is two-fold: disjoint node based, and disjoint lightpath based. In disjoint node scheme, all lightpaths incident to a node are routed mutually through link-disjoint paths. In disjoint lightpath scheme, a lightpath is routed in a link-disjoint manner from all other lightpaths of the VPN. We present a simple heuristic algorithm for selective survivability routing. We study the performance of this algorithm in terms of resources allocated by the selective survivability routing scheme compared to shortest path routing with no survivability. The numerical examples show that the amount of used resources by the selective survivability scheme is only slightly more than the amount used in shortest path routing, and this increase is linear. The extra resources used by the new scheme are justified by better survivability of the VPN topology in case of physical link failures, and the simplicity of the implementation. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.