Departments of transportation (DOTs) and other transportation agencies are responsible for the transportation system and the delivery of a range of services and functions through the management of that system. There are inherent risks involved with transportation system management, besides aging infrastructure and limited funding. Many agencies are moving toward performance-based resource allocation while simultaneously recognizing risks that may constrain their strategic goals. As these risks affect every component of a transportation system to a greater or lesser extent, there are no analysis strategies to accurately account for and address these risks within a transportation agency’s enterprise-wide risk management program.
Investing in risk and resilience strategies and recovery planning to reduce or eliminate the impact of external events is paramount to ensuring a thriving and viable transportation system. Risk management requires (1) identifying and assessing potential threats and hazards, (2) identifying asset vulnerabilities from applicable threats, (3) evaluating potential mitigation actions to reduce risk, (4) a clear and easy implementation process to prioritize mitigation activities, and (5) investments that align with agency strategic and performance goals. Although many research efforts have been conducted on asset and performance management, information on analytical methods to support risk-based asset management throughout the life cycle of the system, from inception to operation, is lagging. In addition, an understanding of the relationship between risks and system resilience is lacking.
Research is needed to develop a go-to resource for assessing risk to agency assets and the traveling public from extreme weather, climate change, and other threats/hazards. The resource is needed to create consistency across projects and agencies, and to ensure the adoption of robust quantitative assessment to support benefit-cost analysis and decision-making. A framework and research roadmap for this resource was developed in NCHRP Project 23-09, “Scoping Study to Develop the Basis for a Highway Standard to Conduct an All-Hazards Risk and Resilience Analysis.”
The objective of this research is to provide a science-based technical resource to assess risk and resilience in transportation planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance decisions. At a minimum, the research shall develop:
- Quantitative, repeatable methods for conducting risk assessments on top priority threats/hazards for transportation assets;
- A historical data-capture process and system to support risk and resilience modeling and assessments;
- Quantitative resilience assessment methods and metrics for transportation assets; and
- Standardized methods to help state DOTs and other transportation agencies identify the most appropriate risk mitigation or resilience improvement strategies.
Work conducted in Phase I will include:
- Conducting a state-of-the-practice review of quantitative approaches to assess risk and resilience. The review should include the transportation industry (private and public sectors; various modes) as well as other industries. The purpose of the review is to better understand where to build from existing experience and where gaps exist.
- Based on the state-of-the-practice review, developing an overall scope and vision for the project with realistic limits on what can and cannot be done given available resources. This should include a goal of the final deliverable being draft language for a Transportation Asset Risk and Resilience Manual for consideration by American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to incorporate the research results in an AASHTO publication (hereafter called AASHTO Deliverable).
- Developing a stakeholder engagement plan to indicate how the research team will work with the project panel, the AASHTO Joint Task Force (see Note below), and the broader transportation industry to provide the needed technical input and review. The stakeholder engagement plan shall identify the appropriate number of workshops.
- Developing the framework for the AASHTO Deliverable. This should include a detailed table of contents, structure, chapters, etc. that will be populated with the results of the research.
Work conducted in Phase II will include:
- Conducting research related to (1) identifying and developing repeatable methods for performing quantitative risk assessments for top priority threats/hazards for transportation assets; (2) developing a historical data-capture process and system to support risk and resilience modeling and assessments; (3) developing quantitative resilience assessment methods and metrics for transportation assets based on the results of (1) and (2); and (4) developing standardized methods to help state DOTs and other transportation agencies to identify the most appropriate risk mitigation or resilience improvement strategies.
- Developing the draft AASHTO Deliverable.
- Conducting review workshops according to the approved stakeholder engagement plan developed in Phase I, and revising the draft AASHTO Deliverable according to the outcomes of the workshops.
PHASE III–Final Product
The final deliverables will include, at a minimum:
- The AASHTO Deliverable;
- A stand-alone conduct of research report that documents the entire research effort and presents key findings;
- Recommendations for future research, including research problem statements; and
- A stand-alone technical memorandum that identifies implementation pathways, key implementers of the results, steps for capacity-building as defined in NCHRP Project 23-09, and well-defined scopes of work for further dissemination and pilot implementation of the methods. The technical memorandum should provide adequate detail about how state DOTs and other transportation agencies can implement the results (e.g., timeline, budget, and needed staff resources.
STATUS: Research In Progress