Coupled Situational Awareness System to Improve Transportation Infrastructure Performance during Extreme Events

The dense road networks and numerous low water crossings throughout Texas may be contributing to the higher recurrence rates of floods that pose a danger to vehicles. A timely issue that should be addressed by researchers is the compounding of disaster. Flooding can be combined with other life-threatening occurrences such as power loss and interruptions of health and emergency services. The Covid-19 pandemic is the latest example of compounding disasters due to its significant impact on the medical and emergency services and the lockdown requirements that can greatly restrict mass evacuation and mass sheltering that might become necessary during a flooding event. When the flooding occurs, most of the major creeks/bayous/rivers in east Texas overflow their banks inundating neighborhoods, overtopping bridges, and rendering key routes impassable. During these events, rescue requests from the stranded communities overwhelm the emergency response facilities; impassable roadways and the paucity of reliable information on the affected areas and their accessibility hamper emergency response operations, causing several detours and delays that put both the responders and evacuees at risk. This research presents a novel framework for improved situational awareness during extreme flooding events by combing a flood inundation model with a transportation infrastructure performance assessment tool. The flood inundation model will be driven by real-time radar rainfall data in an efficient manner. The road network work model will use land use, census data, locations of critical facilities, and a spatial analysis tool. The proposed framework will be tested on watersheds in Houston and San Antonio, Texas. Criteria quantifying mobility and accessibility are evaluated for each inundation map to develop the accessibility maps. These maps can be communicated to stakeholders in real-time to support emergency response and situational awareness and disaster management planning. The framework will be transferrable across Region 6 to support emergency response and longer-term resilience. The overall goal of this research is to improve situational awareness in extreme flooding events by combing a flood inundation model with a transportation infrastructure performance assessment tool to be developed in this project. Following are the major objectives that constitute the overall goal: (1) evaluate the performance of the transportation infrastructure during recent extreme flooding events; (2) develop a coupled inundation modeling and transportation infrastructure assessment tool; and (3) validate the coupled system through hind-casting of recent extreme flooding events. This research is highly interdisciplinary and will bring together researchers from multiple fields including transportation engineering, hydrometeorology, geotechnical engineering, and environmental engineering for successful implementation of the project. This project will address a dire need to improve the ability to assess and reduce the impacts of severe weather events on the transportation infrastructure and travelers’ safety. Overall, this research will potentially result in the development of an affordable tool for road flood warning and mitigation systems.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $117763
  • 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:

    Transportation Consortium of South-Central States (Tran-SET)

    Louisiana State University
    Baton Rouge, LA  United States  70803
  • Project Managers:

    Mousa, Momen

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Texas at San Antonio

    One UTSA Circle
    San Antonio, TX  United States  78249
  • Principal Investigators:

    Sharif, Hatim

  • Start Date: 20210801
  • Expected Completion Date: 20230201
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01833031
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Consortium of South-Central States (Tran-SET)
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747106
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Jan 20 2022 2:00PM