The National Academies

NCHRP 20-59(53) [Active]

FloodCast: A Framework for Enhanced Flood Event Decision Making for Transportation Resilience

  Project Data
Funds: $498,162
Staff Responsibility: Stephan A. Parker
Research Agency: Dewberry Consultants LLC
Principal Investigator: Mat Mampara
Effective Date: 9/2/2014
Completion Date: 5/31/2018

Flooding, and the effects and impacts of flooding along transportation corridors, has caused billions of dollars of damage and countless deaths. Technology currently exists to accurately pinpoint those areas along a transportation corridor that are susceptible to flooding. Many state DOTs have a bridge flood monitoring program for structures that are susceptible to bridge scour. Additionally, most state DOTs have inundation mapping and use inundation modeling in the design of their transportation infrastructure. Although there are weather and climate tools and systems available for predicting changes in the weather and climate conditions, they have not yet been integrated to provide sufficient planning and prediction information required by state DOTs to carry out flood planning, risk management, mitigation, operations, and emergency response activities. Research is needed to translate the available technologies into a suite of tools and methods for use by decision makers at DOTs. Such research is intended to support DOTs in their efforts to develop and deploy emergency management early warning systems that can be applied to flood prediction and warning for enhanced flood event decision making and situational awareness for transportation resilience by harnessing available processes, tools, and hydrometeorology network capabilities.

The objectives of this research are to develop a strategic framework and a prototype tool for enhanced flood event decision making. The framework and tool should help state DOTs plan, manage risks, mitigate hazards, and respond to flood and flash flood events. The framework and tool should address not only immediate flood impacts, but also cascading, escalating impacts. Given the large amount and diversity of applicable data and tools, the framework design should be flexible and scalable to accommodate the available data sets and allow users to easily share both data and products with other users, thereby fostering collaboration across government organizations and the private sector.
Accomplishment of the project objectives will require at least the following tasks.

. Prepare a technical memorandum with a synthesis of existing tools, methods, data, and models used for flood event planning, risk management, mitigation, operations, and emergency response activities conducted by various transportation and emergency management organizations. It is expected that the synthesis will at a minimum require (a) a literature review (including theses and dissertations on the subject); (b) identification of key stakeholder information requirements and needs for actionable information for informed decisions; (c) identification of the availability and usability of appropriate data; and (d) identification of the availability and usability of models and tools. The synthesis should be organized in terms of currently available tools and methods; their applicability; scalability; and data elements that could be relevant to the conduct of a gap analysis in Task 2. (2). Conduct a gap analysis and develop a prioritized list of practitioner needs/requirements versus the capability of available tools and the extent to which these needs can be met with those tools. Prepare a technical memorandum summarizing (a) needs that are currently satisfied with the available tools, methods, and data; (b) needs that will require minor modification to the methods or data sources; and (c) needs that will require new methods, techniques, and tools to be developed. Include information on strengths and limitations of the tools, methods, and data for practitioner use. Include a preliminary estimate of the workload, effort, and time required to close the identified gaps for items (b) and (c). Highlight the overlaps, commonalities, and data gathered but not communicated to planning and/or operations domains. (3). Based on Tasks 1 and 2, develop a recommended framework and architecture to organize tools, methods, and data for practitioner use. (4). Develop recommendations for further research to close gaps identified in Task 2 (e.g., technology and interoperability, data archiving, data storage, communicating processes for local offloading and massaging of data). Break the recommended improvements into (a) those that can be carried out in Phase II with available resources and (b) those requiring additional resources. For the latter, provide details on required additional funding along with a detailed scope of work. (5). Prepare an interim report providing (a) a summary of results from Tasks 1 through 4, (b) an updated work plan for Phase II, and (c) a detailed outline of final products. The interim report should be accompanied by an appendix providing any raw information collected in Phase I.

Carry out the approved Phase II work plan. (7).Prepare (1) a stand-alone document providing guidance for practitioners on methods and technologies, including illustrative case studies where applicable, to: (a) efficiently mine, manage, and document existing data sources; (b) acquire and use data from new and innovative technologies; and (c) develop and demonstrate a flexible and scalable framework which produces actionable information for use in flood event planning, risk management, mitigation, operations and emergency response activities conducted by various transportation and emergency management organizations. Also, provide an updated PowerPoint presentation describing the research and results suitable (upon revision) for posting on the TRB website. To the extent Phase II resources allow, (2) describe a prototype system that demonstrates the framework (proof of concept) and is suitable for limited testing and evaluation; (3) evaluate the prototype with appropriate stakeholders to test the framework and capture their feedback in a technical memorandum; (4) provide a final report documenting the research and the prototype capability, the user feedback, and a plan for building out a full system; and (5) provide the research team’s recommendation of research needs and priorities for additional related research.
STATUS: Research in progress. An interim meeting was held in July 2016. A draft final report is anticipated in December 2017.

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