The National Academies

NCHRP 23-24 [Active]

Methods to Allow Agencies to Incorporate Quantitative Risk Assessment at Project and Network Level

  Project Data
Funds: $500,000
Staff Responsibility: Camille Crichton-Sumners, Ph.D.
Research Agency: University of California, Los Angeles
Principal Investigator: Enrique Lopez Droguett, Ph.D.
Effective Date: 3/14/2023
Completion Date: 12/14/2025
Comments: Research is progress.

Risk is defined as the likelihood of damage or loss from a hazard and the susceptibility to all of the related consequences. Managing transportation risk is a critical component of asset management. Transportation agencies spend significant resources on risk mitigation. Risks may be associated with the threat of extreme hazard events that damage transportation infrastructure, cascading or secondary impacts, and unexpected changes to the functionality of infrastructure assets, the budget, or workload resulting from these hazard events. Recent studies have been conducted to improve approaches to risk management for transportation agencies. However, most of these studies treat risk management as a high-level activity. High risk threats may influence optimal resource allocation needed for maintaining infrastructure safety and operations. Further research is needed to develop quantitative, repeatable risk assessment approaches for practitioners assessing the vulnerability of physical transportation assets. This project aims to develop approaches to assess risks (e.g., financial, strategic, operational, political, environmental, technological, social justice risks) and incorporate them into life-cycle analysis and planning efforts. 
The objectives of this research are to (1) develop risk assessment techniques to determine vulnerabilities to high risk threats at the network level; (2) develop quantitative, repeatable approaches for assessing the likelihood and consequences of these threats to asset management programs (e.g., bridges, culverts, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), road signs, and pavement, etc.); and (3) develop interactive visualization methods (e.g., dashboards, heat maps, etc.) that display quantified risks and reflect an agency’s level of risk and effectiveness following proposed mitigation actions.

1. Amplified Research Plan and Kick-off Meeting.

2.  Literature review and Stakeholder Engagement Plan development.

    Ø  Identify the state of practice amongst transportation practitioners describing how state transportation practitioners assess and quantify the risks.

3. Develop a means for conducting quantitative risk assessment for transportation assets that will be incorporated into a practitioner’s tool and provide a report. The method shall include:

o   Inventory and prioritize transportation assets by level of risk/risk tiers. Develop a risk matrix.

o   Identify and prioritize risk threats (from low to high). This shall include natural hazards and human made threats.

o   Identify threat consequences

o   Identify mitigation, prevention and recovery efforts

o   Develop a model/map of threats, consequences, and mitigations

 Ø  Provide the Interim report one month prior to the interim panel meeting and make a presentation during the interim panel meeting.


 4. Develop a risk assessment framework that utilizes threats, risk thresholds,  and assets to estimate the potential/likelihood of threat events and consequences.  

  • Develop a user friendly, accessible risk assessment tool and report, for state DOT practitioners to estimate threat, consequence and mitigation action impacts.

 5.  Provide case studies that test the framework tools/applying the tool.

 6.   Prepare Draft Final deliverables.  

Final deliverables at a minimum shall include (1) a final report documenting the entire research effort; (2) a framework—that provides procedures and outputs—used for assessing high risk threats and aid in incorporating the results into transportation asset management (TAM) efforts; (3) a spreadsheet tool that integrates the framework and conveys risk thresholds within an asset management system; (4) a practitioner’s guide describing practical methods for quantitative risk assessment and instruction for the implementation of research derived tools; (5) prioritized recommendations for future research; (6) a PowerPoint presentation describing the background, objectives, research approach, findings, and conclusions; (7) a stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” (see Special Note E for additional information); (8) a presentation of findings to two AASHTO committees or councils concerned with transportation resilience; and (8) a draft article suitable for publication in TR News.

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