The National Academies

NCHRP 20-117 [Final]

Deploying Transportation Resilience Practices in State DOTs

  Project Data
Funds: $1,076,200
Research Agency: WSP USA Inc.
Principal Investigator: Ms. Paula Hammond
Effective Date: 6/16/2017
Completion Date: 9/30/2020

Although comparatively large public- and private-sector investments have been made to improve transportation system resiliency over the past decade, the 2013 TRB Report on Critical Issues in Transportation concluded that “[T]he performance of the transportation system is neither reliable nor resilient, yet transportation’s role in economic revival and in global economic competition has never been more important.” This finding was echoed by AASHTO’s Standing Committee on Research (SCOR) which noted that “[a] major performance issue across all modes is the inadequacy of preparation” for natural and human-made disasters as well as for extreme weather events when it identified resilience as the number one NCHRP Emphasis Area for FY2017. SCOR also noted that the application of resiliency engineering in the transportation sector is still in its infancy. This finding is echoed by the USDOT, the National Research Council, AASHTO’s Special Committee on Transportation Security and Emergency Management and others that have indicated the need for more work to be done in implementing systemic resilience-based approaches in surface transportation. TRB cooperative research projects have produced a wealth of resiliency-related studies, products, guidelines and effective practices aimed at those responsible for system operations and performance. Those research projects have included recommendations for implementation but have not had dedicated resources to carry out a systematic program of implementation support. Consequently, in spite of this large collective research effort, successful “on-the-ground” deployment has been ad hoc, inconsistent, fragmented, and slow. The fundamental problem is that new guidelines and effective practices developed by these and other programs are not being deployed by the state DOTs in a timely and uniform manner, leaving travelers, businesses, and governments at greater risk than necessary. Research was needed to develop a set of implementation support tools and services to assist state DOTs and other entities in deploying resilience-based innovations and effective practices found effective at the state, local, tribal, and territorial scales.
The objectives of this research were to assist state DOTs and other entities in achieving a resilience-focused culture in their organization through developing (1) a Transportation Resilience Guide and Toolkit (with associated model curricula) and (2) a national summit and peer exchange on transportation resiliency. The resilience guide and toolkit should present the state of the art and the state of the practice. The national summit and peer exchange should showcase effective practices across the transportation enterprise, particularly focused on implementation within the varied policy environments of state DOTs.

Supplemental materials to the report include a Posters Compilation and the Program Agenda from the 2018 Transportation Resilience Innovations Summit and Exchange, and a PowerPoint Presentation on resilience.

Conference presentations from the Transportation Resilience Innovations Summit and Exchange (RISE) 2018 are also available.

TRB sponsored the Transportation Resilience Innovations Summit and Exchange (RISE) 2018 on October 9-10, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. The Summit Program was structured around the following three key themes::

  • Enhancing an Organization’s Capacity for Incorporating Resilience into its Activities
  • Recognizing Infrastructure Dependencies and Fostering Partnerships
  • Making the Case for Resilience


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