Physical Exposure and Social Sensitivity: Estimating Sea Level Rise Impacts to Transportation through Vulnerability Assessment and Social Media Analysis

Sea level rise, as one of the most wide-spread and important climate change factors, has become a pressing threat to transportation infrastructure, especially in coastal region (National Research Council, 2008). It is particularly a challenge for Hawaii given the geographic and topographic situation of these islands (Keener, 2013). While much research have been conducted to assess the potential impacts and physical vulnerability of transportation network to sea level rise (Q.-C. Lu & Z.-R. Peng, 2011; Suarez, Anderson, Mahal, & Lakshmanan, 2005; Wu, Hayat, Clarens, & Smith, 2013), it is often difficult to validate the results due to the lack of empirical data. In recent years, social media provides new opportunities to evaluate hazard impacts in human perception, identify the affected communities, and identify useful information for disaster management (Dashti et al., 2014; De Albuquerque, Herfort, Brenning, & Zipf, 2015; Kaewkitipong, Chen, & Ractham, 2012). Social media’s potential in collecting information relevant to transportation policies has also been demonstrated (Gal-Tzur, Grant-Muller, Minkov, & Nocera, 2014). Its value in capturing views, needs, and experiences of the travelling public to support the development of long-term transport policy and transport planning has been acknowledged (Gal-Tzur, Grant-Muller, Kuflik, et al., 2014). Despite its potential, social media has yet been applied to study the impacts of long-term, gradual-changing coastal hazards (such as sea level rise) on transportation, indicating both a gap and an opportunity. As a result, this project proposes to combine traditional transportation vulnerability assessments with social media analysis to assess the potential impacts of sea level rise on transportation and propose adaptation suggestions. Through the innovative examination of past extreme coastal flooding events in Honolulu, it could provide empirical evidence for potential sea level rise impacts and achieve the following objectives. First, the project will identify the vulnerable roadways to assess the system performance changes and the spatial distribution of accessibility reduction before and after the road network degradation caused by coastal flooding. Second, it will examine the relationship between physical accessibility reduction and public-perceived flooding impacts on transportation, which provides a way to validate the impact assessment as well as reveals the social sensitivity to such impacts. Third, it will support the development of adaptation strategies by identifying the most physically vulnerable and socially sensitive areas and discovering people’s major concerns in transportation during such events. Finally, it will share the findings through web-based visualization to facilitate stakeholder interaction and public education. The findings not only have practical significance to the case study area, but also have the potential to be generalized to similar coastal regions. The innovative approach and methodology could also be applied to assess coastal hazards impact to transportation in other places.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $19686
  • Sponsor Organizations:

    METRANS Transportation Center

    University of Southern California
    Los Angeles, CA  United States  90089-0626

    Pacific Southwest Region 9 UTC

    650 Childs Way
    Los Angeles, CA  United States  90089

    Department of Transportation

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    University of Hawaii, Manoa

    2540 Dole Street
    Honolulu, HI  United States  96822

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Brinkerhoff, Cort

  • Principal Investigators:

    Shen, Suwan

  • Start Date: 20180101
  • Expected Completion Date: 20181231
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01652804
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Center for Metropolitan Transportation Research
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Dec 1 2017 10:17AM