The National Academies

NCHRP 20-59(24) [Completed]

A Guide to Transportation and Hazards Resources

  Project Data
Funds: $37,500
(matching $37,500 provided by TCRP Project J-10E)
Research Agency: University of Colorado - Boulder
Principal Investigator: Jeannette Sutton
Effective Date: 8/17/2007
Completion Date: 1/31/2009


Transportation plays an integral role in prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery from natural and human-induced disasters. Transportation agencies, associations, and organizations have a broad and unique understanding of hazards that spans a myriad of issues. However, despite the demonstrated field-based expertise and commitment to responding to and mitigating hazards, their voice is often absent in discussions among the hazards, disasters, planning, and mitigation communities. Conversely, those working in transportation are often unaware of existing and cutting-edge research in the hazards community that may be of practical and theoretical use to the transportation community and those working broadly on transportation and security issues. Indeed, while the day-to-day activities and organizational goals of transportation agencies often embody the precepts of all-hazards mitigation, the transportation community may be unaware of programs, activities, research, and contacts of others active in this field.

The need for the cross-fertilization of ideas, information sharing, and capacity building is more crucial today than ever before. The Natural Hazards Center, in Boulder, Colorado, plays a vital role in reducing the risks posed by natural, technological, and human-induced hazards. For almost thirty years the Center has served as a national and international clearinghouse of knowledge concerning the social science and policy aspects of hazards and is an advocate for sustainability, interdisciplinary partnerships, and an all-hazards approach to the management of extreme events. Our basic goal is to strengthen communication among researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and other concerned individuals. The bimonthly Natural Hazards Observer, the Center's hard copy newsletter is one of the most prominent and highly regarded publications of its kind. Reaching approximately 37,000 readers worldwide, this timely resource of valuable information about hazards research, practice, and policy focuses on human adaptation and response to natural hazards and catastrophic events.


To provide transportation agencies and operators with an overview of security-related research and resources, and to introduce them to the wide variety of ongoing, interdisciplinary research and applications that are currently being undertaken by the hazards research community.

Accomplishment of the project objective will require the following tasks:


Task A. Conduct a U.S. and international review of hazards and security-related publications and training programs with potential applicability to North American transportation system owners, managers, and operators. The review items should be drawn from surface transportation, military, government, and other open sources as appropriate. Identification of open-source portals to secured information (e.g., nuclear, TSA's VISAT program) should also be identified.

Task B. Produce two (or more) draft documents for panel review, targeted to the transportation community to introduce it to the wide variety of ongoing, interdisciplinary research and applications that are currently being undertaken by the hazards research community.

Each document will be conceived, researched, and designed with a focus on audience needs. The documents may be stand-alone, companion pieces, or part of a series. Within an agreed-upon research framework, timeline, and collective understanding of the audience for these publications, the research team will solicit appropriate transportation and hazards professionals for detailed input into the scope of these documents.

With the intent of creating synergy among disciplines and instilling working relationships between researchers and practitioners, the panel envisions that these publications will accomplish some or all of the following:
    1. Review research produced under the TRB Cooperative Research Programs, including international scan reports and with an emphasis on human factors. The Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS) Database www.trb.org/tris is the world's largest and most comprehensive bibliographic resource on transportation information.
    2. Provide contacts, resources, technologies, and general information about those working with natural and human-induced hazards (emergency management, response, land use planning, and security) in a practical and usable format for the transportation community.
    3. Present a hazard-by-hazard overview of prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery with a focus on profiling the connections between transportation issues and their importance to emergency response, vulnerability and risk reduction, and social science research. The overview of hazards will include an overview of prevention and mitigation for human-induced hazards such as crime and terrorism. Areas for concentration include pandemic response, access to nuclear response training and planning, access to TSA tools such as VISAT, as well as published reports.
    4. Guide audience to "think outside the box" when planning or participating in exercises, scenario-based training, or other educational opportunities.
    5. Identify and highlight relevant research with a focus on disciplines that may not be seen as traditional partners with the transportation community.
    6. Provide, through select case studies, examples of innovative partnerships, learning opportunities, and best practices among the transportation, emergency management, and hazards research communities.
    7. Create a dynamic understanding of the players, both new and old, who are actively working in hazards mitigation and demonstrate the utility of taking an all-hazards, mitigation-oriented approach toward risk reduction and public safety.
    8. Make the transportation community aware of current and future research trends and projects.
    9. Highlight the role of social science, diversity, and vulnerability reduction to the transportation community through the presentation of relevant research and theory.
    10. Address current legislative and regulatory issues that affect the transportation community and its role in emergency services.

Task C. Submit revised drafts based on comments received from the NCHRP reviews of the draft documents.

Status: Completed. Published as NCHRP Research Results Digest 333/TCRP Research Results Digest 90: A Guide to Planning Resources on Transportation and Hazards. 

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