Risk Assessment of Port Infrastructure Considering Uncertainty in Coastal Forcing and Climate Change Impact

The goal of this one-year project is to assess the resilience of Texas and Louisiana port infrastructure, including seawalls and waterfronts, amid uncertainties tied to coastal forcing and sea level rise (SLR). Uncertainties that arise from the stochastic nature of coastal forces and future extreme climate events present challenges in optimizing the resilience of these structures. This project has three primary objectives: (1) gain insight into the current practices and policies of Texas and Louisiana coastal ports for dealing with climate change; (2) conduct case studies of risk-based lifecycle assessment of port infrastructure considering uncertainties in coastal forcing, SLR, and structural stability; (3) utilize research findings to devise strategies for reducing uncertainty, enhancing risk assessment, and improving lifetime reliability. Insights into the current practice will be gained through targeted interviews with port employees in both states, followed by informal workshops with selected ports in each state. A comprehensive literature review of climate change policies and practices of ports in Texas and Louisiana will be conducted. This will enable the research team to determine the best way to approach the interviews and workshops. The research team will send out a brief survey to all deep-water ports in the Texas and Louisiana region. The responses provided by the ports will aid in narrowing down those selected for a more in-depth discussion. A probabilistic risk assessment will be conducted to evaluate the lifecycle performance of seawalls considering future uncertainty in coastal forcing, extreme events, and SLR. This approach comprises the following key components: (i) stochastic wave hazard modeling for predicting coastal forcing; (ii) stochastic deterioration modeling accounting for chronic stressors; (iii) time-dependent structural reliability analysis for estimating failure probability over the lifetime of these structures; and (iv) a lifecycle management model offering a risk-based tool for optimal design and maintenance strategies. The reinforced concrete curved seawall in Galveston will be used as a case study -- a structure of strategic importance in the Gulf Coast relative to economic impact and infrastructure resilience. The proposed project embodies breakthrough research by assessing the resilience of Texas and Louisiana’s port infrastructure amidst significant uncertainties of coastal forcing and sea level rise. It seeks to provide a holistic understanding of the current practices and policies at the coastal ports through a rigorous, probabilistic risk-based lifecycle assessment of the port structures. The implementation of a probabilistic framework for the evaluation of waterfront infrastructure, with a spotlight on pivotal structures like the seawall at Galveston, intricately considers future uncertainties in climate events and sea level variations. Structured engagement with port authorities using surveys and workshops facilitates a collaborative exchange of ideas, ensuring that the research findings and developed strategies are grounded in the practical realities and needs of the ports.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $ 211,186
  • 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:

    Southern Plains Transportation Center

    University of Oklahoma
    201 Stephenson Pkwy, Suite 4200
    Norman, OK  United States  73019
  • Project Managers:

    Dunn, Denise

  • Performing Organizations:

    Texas A&M University, College Station

    Zachry Department of Civil Engineering
    3136 TAMU
    College Station, TX  United States  77843-3136

    Texas A&M Transportation Institute

    Texas A&M University System
    3135 TAMU
    College Station, TX  United States  77843-3135
  • Principal Investigators:

    Noshadravan, Arash

    Kruse, James

    Glover, Brianne

  • Start Date: 20230901
  • Expected Completion Date: 20240831
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01896755
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Southern Plains Transportation Center
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3552348306, CY1-TAMU-02
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Oct 20 2023 9:14AM