Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices. Topic 53-11. Resilient Design with Distributed Rainfall-Runoff Modeling

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the number and cost of weather and climate-related disasters are increasing in the United States due to a combination of increased exposure, vulnerability, and the fact that climate change is increasing the frequency of extreme events. The increased frequency of hurricanes and severe storm events are requiring state departments of transportation (DOTs) to consider how to anticipate, plan for, and adapt to these changing conditions. In addition, DOTs are considering how to withstand, respond to, and recover more rapidly when disruptions occur. For these reasons, more complex hydrologic modeling that allows for scenario testing and impact assessment is needed. Distributed rainfall-runoff methods are models that use physical equations to describe rainfall patterns and water movement to create flow rates. Distributed rainfall-runoff models are hydrologic models that simulate runoff production, transport, and accumulation in waterways. These models split the watershed into small elements that are used to calculate and track infiltration and movement of runoff on the ground by using processed based equations. Increased computing power and modeling efficiency have made distributed rainfall-runoff models more cost effective for engineering projects. Because distributed models are process based, they also have more flexibility than statistical methods because they are not restricted to historical data. As a result, there has been increased interest among engineering practitioners in using distributed rainfall-runoff models to create more resilient designs. However, there has been little documented guidance on applying modern distributed rainfall-runoff models to help engineers use them in the highway design process. The objective of this synthesis is to document state DOT use of distributed rainfall-runoff models. The synthesis will focus on the use of distributed rainfall-runoff methods for hydrologic analyses for the planning, design, and operation of bridges and roadway projects.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $45000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-05, Topic 53-11

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Gause, Jo

  • Performing Organizations:

    Auburn University

    282 Wilmore Laboratories
    Auburn, AL  United States  36849-5341
  • Principal Investigators:

    Vasconcelos, Jose

  • Start Date: 20211007
  • Expected Completion Date: 20230530
  • Actual Completion Date: 20230530

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01771600
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-05, Topic 53-11
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: May 18 2021 12:33PM