RES2013-27: All Hazards Risk Assessment of Critical Transportation Infrastructure in the State of Tennesse: Part 1 Identification of the Top Ten Critical Transportation Assets

Threats, both natural and man-made, exist to critical infrastructure of all types throughout the nation. Currently operating terrorist groups have indicated their intention to attack critical transportation infrastructure in the future. The possibility of terrorism against our nation’s bridges is an ever-increasing threat today. Globally, between 1980 and 2006, 53 terrorist attacks specifically targeted bridges. Approximately 60% of these attacks were bombings [1]. There is general agreement that the threat of terrorist attack to the transportation sector is growing; "…there is a growing concern that within this sea of moving parts lay critical security gaps and a lack of operational resiliency that could cause tremendous damage from any significant disruptive event, whether man-made or natural." [2] Perhaps most disturbing is the recent report that an anonymous caller informed the FBI of a plot by ISIS to blow up a Memphis bridge [3]. A significant amount of work has been done since 9/11 to prepare critical transportation infrastructure for the eventuality of a terrorist attack. The overriding government publication from the Federal level is the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP), with the Transportation Sector-Specific Plan annex. Among the suggested methods to approach risk assessment is the RAMCAP process that involves using the worst-case scenario of a potential threat. The terrorist threat meets that criteria and has the distinction of being the threat vector that can be mitigated against most easily by adjustments in Department policies and designs. The analysis relied on a survey to identify the top ten critical transportation assets in Tennessee that were then subjected to the RAMCAP risk management process. Site visits were made to assess vulnerability, and extensive research was conducted to evaluate potential threats and consequences of the losses. In general, the vulnerabilities found present in many of the assets primarily were concerned with unrestricted or lightly restricted access to the under-deck columns and abutments. Many threats were considered, with natural and man-made accidental being set aside due to their consideration in design of the bridges. The man-made intentional, or terrorist threat, was then decided to be the primary threat package.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $67944
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Tennessee Department of Transportation

    James K. Polk Building
    Fifth and Deaderick Street
    Nashville, TN  United States  37243-0349
  • Managing Organizations:

    Tennessee Department of Transportation

    James K. Polk Building
    Fifth and Deaderick Street
    Nashville, TN  United States  37243-0349
  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Tennessee, Chattanooga

    615 McCallie Avenue, Department 4905
    Chattanooga, TN  United States  37403
  • Principal Investigators:

    Rollins , A

  • Start Date: 20130801
  • Expected Completion Date: 20141201
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: Transportation, Planning, Research, and Development

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01762843
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Tennessee Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: RES2013-27
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 27 2021 12:46PM