The National Academies

NCHRP 08-146 [Anticipated]

Integrating Resiliency into Transportation System Operations

  Project Data
Funds: $350,000
Staff Responsibility: Trey Joseph Wadsworth
Fiscal Year: 2021

This project has been tentatively selected and a project statement (request for proposals) is expected in December 2021. The project statement will be available on this site. The problem statement below will be the starting point for a panel of experts to develop the project statement.

Over the past two decades, communities throughout the United States have experienced the consequences of increased frequency and severity of natural and, in some cases, human caused, events that result in both loss of life and major damage to public and private property, including damage to or closure of critical transportation assets and functions.  The effects of these events vary in duration from hours to days or weeks and their footprints range from localized to regional.   In some cases, these events can be predicted with some degree of accuracy (e.g., weather events, planned special events, planned major roadwork) and, because the events have occurred previously, their effects may be predictable.  A resilient transportation system anticipates and plans for these events to the extent possible and, when predicted in advance, manages the transportation system to avoid or minimize the effects of these events and restore “normal” or “new normal” operations as quickly as possible.   Thus, operational resilience involves developing and investing in policies, plans, procedures, people, technologies, and equipment so that transportation system owners and operators are prepared to act “before the storm” – regardless of the nature of the “storm,” including events that result in loss of transportation system capacity (e.g., weather, crashes, work zones), exceptional temporary demand on the system (e.g., special events, evacuations, mobilization), lost revenue (e.g., electronic toll collection, turnstile, or network failure), and loss of controls (e.g., loss of signals, dynamic messaging, lane controls). 

The place where investment decisions are made that establish and tie together regional priorities is in the transportation planning process.  Integrating resilience into planning for operations affords system operators the opportunity to include operations strategies that can benefit both day-to-day operations as well as provide for more robust systems that can accommodate changing demand patterns as well as sustain the system shocks that occur when natural or human caused events disrupt “normal” operations. 

The objective of this proposed research effort is to 1) identify the extent to which operational resilience is considered in the transportation planning process within MPOs and state DOTs, 2) determine what the goals of operational resilience would be from the perspective of system operators across multiple modes, and 3) identify mechanisms for integrating operational resilience into the planning process from the perspective of system operators, including strategies that anticipate and plan for events that are likely to occur.

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