The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 48-13 [Active (Synthesis)]

Resilience in Transportation Planning, Engineering, Management, Policy, and Administration
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 5/9/2016 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Tanya M. Zwhalen
Research Agency: Applied Engineering Management Corporation
Principal Investigator: Aimee Flannery
Effective Date: 10/7/2016
Fiscal Year: 2016

Final Scope

“The transportation system is a complex network of infrastructure, vehicles, power sources, communications, and human capital. When we speak of resilience in the transportation sense, we mean the ability of the transportation system to recover and regain functionality after a major disruption or disaster.” AASHTO SCOR, 2016

Although the general concept of “resilience” has existed for decades in transportation, its emergence as a critical topic in the field has come about more recently in the wake of numerous major disasters and other high profile incidents and system failures. After such events it has been typical to see a progression in which problems and weaknesses were identified and new practices, policies, and procedures developed and implemented to reduce or eliminate the potential for future occurrence.

The objective of this synthesis study is to document resilience efforts and how they are organized, understood, and implemented within transportation agencies’ core functions and services. Core functions and services include planning, engineering, construction, maintenance, operations, and administration. The synthesis should consider all modes, with a focus on surface transportation. The study will document how practitioners prepare and plan the transportation network to absorb, recover from, minimize and adapt to decreases in functionality no matter what the cause, scale, or duration.

Information to be gathered will include, but not be limited to:
• How agencies define resilience.
• Effective methods and practices to plan, prepare, respond, and recover within existing frameworks and budgets as part of routine operations.
• Current and/or innovative practices related to guidance, training, procedures, policies, plan content, and jurisdictional roles and involvement.
• How agencies are structured and collaborate internally and externally to address resilience.
• How agencies evaluate, compare, and justify the allocation of funding and resources to enhance resilience within the context of routine and competing needs (e.g. cost benefit analysis).
• Whether or not agencies are using resilience-specific performance measures, and how resilience is incorporated into performance management.
• Current practices related to assessing risk (e.g. vulnerability assessments and criticality).
• Short-term and long-term approaches to resilience in planning, programming, and asset management.
• Strategies used to improve resilience (e.g. asset management, green infrastructure, land preservation, redundancy, etc.).
• Funding sources to implement resilience strategies.

Information will be gathered through a literature review focused on practice, a survey of transportation agencies, and case study interviews. Based on the findings of the survey, the report will include no less than four case studies that summarize multi-jurisdictional, collaborative and transferrable practices regarding resilience. The report also will include a glossary of terms.

Information Sources:
• FHWA “Framework and Assessment of Resiliency of the National Highway System” (via Ben Hawkinson)
• FHWA Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Case Studies Series
• Port of New York/New Jersey 2015 Design Guidelines Climate Resilience (via Anne Strauss-Wieder or Tanya Zwahlen)
• FHWA Hurricane Sandy Follow-up and Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Analysis
• Scientific and practitioner-oriented journals and research reports, etc.
• “Understanding Transportation Resilience: A 2016-2018 Roadmap” (Strategic Plan Implementation Support for the AASHTO SCOTSEM)
• Unpublished planning studies for local communities
• Transportation agency reports, guidance, and standards
• Location-specific difficult-to-access reports and studies
• Conference compendiums
• Army Corps of Engineers
• U.S. Coast Guard
• Handbooks or guidance by NARC, AMPO, APA, thinktanks, and philanthropic organizations
o Rockefeller
o UN
o Georgetown Climate Center 

TRB Staff
Tanya Zwahlen
Phone: 585-315-1834
Email: tzwahlen@nas.edu

Meeting Dates
First Panel:  October 4, 2016, Washington, DC
Teleconference with Consultant: November 14, 2016, 1:00 p.m.
Second Panel: June 22, 2017, Irvine, CA

Topic Panel
Kimberly Avery, Michigan DOT
Julia Biggar, California DOT
Elizabeth Habic, Maryland State Highway Administration
Hilary Nixon, Mineta Transportation Institute/San José State University
Johnny Olson, Colorado Department of Transportation
Joseph Segale, Vermont Agency of Transportation
Anne Strauss-Wieder, North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority
Benjamin Hawkinson, Federal Highway Administration
Rebecca Lupes, Federal Highway Administration
William B. Anderson, TRB Technical Activities Division

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