Identifying Critical Waterway Infrastructure and Managing Risk Associated with Natural Disasters

The transportation system in the U.S. is extremely vulnerable to disruptions and delays from natural disasters. Recently, record hurricane and flooding events have impacted urban transportation and strained the coastal and maritime transportation infrastructure unlike ever before. Agencies are looking to ease modal congestion in urban areas (during extreme events, but also in general) by shifting more freight movement to marine "highway" routes; however, the infrastructure supporting these navigable waterways (e.g., levee systems, ports, locks and dams) is well beyond its design life and increased use of these routes means an increase in the risk of failure during a future extreme weather event. In order to reduce the risk, proper maintenance of this infrastructure is necessary; however, there is currently a backlog of maintenance projects due to the lack of funds available. There is a need for an assessment strategy capable of capturing the probability of failure and associated economic impacts for maritime and inland waterway infrastructure subjected to flooding and other natural disasters. The overall goal of this research is to develop a risk assessment framework that can be used to aid decision making and mitigation strategies for maritime infrastructure deemed critical to the U.S. transportation system and economy. This goal will be achieved through the following objectives: (1) survey past flooding and natural disaster events, the performance of maritime infrastructure, and the impact on transportation activities and the economy, (2) develop a risk assessment and analysis framework using both qualitative and quantitative models to identify transportation critical infrastructure and estimate the associated risk and impact from disruption, and (3) validate the risk assessment and analysis framework and evaluate various disaster response and mitigation strategies. The proposed approach will provide a decision making tool to determine which maintenance issues should be addressed first based on the probability of failure, likelihood of detection, and the associated economic impacts. The proposed framework can also be extended to consider a number of different causal relationships and impacts such as modal shifts to reduce risk of transporting hazardous materials, and disaster response options.


    • English


    • Status: Completed
    • Funding: $227903
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Managing Organizations:

      Maritime Transportation Research and Education Center

      University of Arkansas
      Fayetteville, AR  United States  72701
    • Performing Organizations:

      University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

      4190 Bell Engineering
      Civil Engineering
      Fayetteville, Arkansas  United States  72701
    • Principal Investigators:

      Bernhardt-Barry, Michelle

      Zhang, Shengfan

    • Start Date: 20200701
    • Expected Completion Date: 20231231
    • Actual Completion Date: 20231231
    • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01752830
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Maritime Transportation Research and Education Center
    • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747130
    • Files: UTC, RIP
    • Created Date: Sep 24 2020 3:03PM