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Infrastructure / Member Firms

April 29, 2019

Guest Blogger: Transportation Resilience: Taking Steps to Address Threats

Transportation agencies have become increasingly adept at responding to and recovering from natural hazards and man-made threats. Floods, hurricanes, landslides, wildfires, major accidents and cyber security breaches have kept Departments of Transportation on their toes.

These incidents have made clear that economic vitality and quality of life in communities are dependent on effective transportation systems, and agencies are seeking to increase their capabilities in addressing these disrupting conditions now and into the future. To be more proactive, more resilient.

The best decisions are always made with effective guidance and good data, and the same holds true for resilience. Efforts are underway by FHWA, AASHTO, and through the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) program to develop practitioner materials. These agencies sponsored the 2018 RISE (Resilience Innovations Summit and Exchange) conference which outlined existing best practices as well as challenges ahead.

Among the findings were that resilience must be “at the table” within all DOT divisions and that relationships with communities and resilience partners are critical.

This event was part of the work WSP is leading for NCHRP, which will provide transportation agencies with a Resilience Guidebook and toolkit later this year. This guide will address resilience, including such dimensions as organizational framing, risk assessments, and communication, and outline steps that can be taken to enhance their agency culture.

Data needed for effective resilience decisions to minimize or eliminate risks is being developed, with a growing awareness that while some is available—including from design, asset management, etc.—data that more fully represents risks and uncertainty, and supports capital decisions is needed to fully shift a DOT from a reactive state to a proactive state. This is anticipated to be the focus of resilience research in the coming years.

DOTs are faced with limited revenues and growing demands—taking steps toward greater resilience will ensure the long-term viability of systems upon which business and communities rely.

All comments to blog posts will be moderated by ACEC staff.

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April 29, 2019



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