The National Academies

NCHRP 15-80 [Active]

Design Guide and Standards for Infrastructure Resilience

  Project Data
Funds: $734,960
Staff Responsibility: C. Crichton-Sumners
Research Agency: ICF Incorporated, LLC
Principal Investigator: Brenda Dix
Effective Date: 6/17/2021
Completion Date: 8/17/2024
Comments: Research in progress.

Extreme weather events such as hurricanes, droughts, heat waves, convective storms, floods, and wildfires have significant adverse impacts. Sea levels, temperatures, and precipitation patterns are expected to increase in frequency and severity and stress transportation systems, increasing the risk of disruptions, damage, and casualties. Infrastructure planning and design should account for these conditions to minimize impacts, yet this is not adequately addressed in current design standards and guidance.
Translating climate projections and extreme weather data into information usable for project-level design and the development of design specifications is complex. Current design criteria for building and retrofitting transportation infrastructure are generally developed with an implicit assumption that the climate conditions will remain static over the design life. State and federal guidelines and requirements for producing transportation project designs for more resilient transportation assets have increased in recent years. Recognizing the benefits of incorporating resilience into all facets of the project life cycle, many transportation agencies are beginning to conduct engineering-informed adaptation studies and develop ways to formally integrate resilience into the project development process. A number of highly related, recent research projects have been initiated and/or completed by NCHRP and FHWA. Practitioners need additional assistance evaluating and balancing the potential costs and benefits of incorporating recommended guidance and standards that consider resilience to extreme weather and future climatic conditions in their project development processes.
The objectives of this project are to (1) briefly summarize how extreme weather events, long-term climate changes, and climate resilience impact transportation project delivery, infrastructure life-cycles, and asset management practices; (2) identify current and projected future climate variables to be considered during the design of transportation projects to increase resilience; (3) develop recommendations for updating design processes that include consideration of extreme weather events and increase resilience to climate impacts; and (4) develop a project delivery climate change resilience design guide.
Phase I Tasks:
Conduct a literature review, prepare and deploy a survey, and conduct interviews that determine the current state of practice to learn which assets and hazards are associated with AASHTO design standards. Provide an interim report summarizing the findings and prepare a scope of work for Phase II and Phase III. Give a status presentation during a virtual Interim Meeting.
Phase II Tasks:
Develop a framework and design process flow diagrams that show how resilience should be integrated into the project development process. Develop the technical requirements and language for design standards and specifications for incorporating resilience into project development. Suggested language shall be suitable for review and subsequent action by AASHTO. Develop the draft Resilience Design Guide.
Convene a meeting comprised of practitioners who are responsible for resilience in their organizations and solicit feedback on the draft framework, flow diagrams technical requirements and standards and specifications, and design guide. Provide an interim report summarizing the findings of Phase II. Give a status presentation during an Interim Meeting.
Phase III Tasks:
Finalize Resilience Design Guide, Climate Sensitivity Matrices, Final Report deliverables, and Final AASHTO design standards and specifications document which shall consist of suggested language for further consideration and action by AASHTO. Make a presentation of findings to AASHTO.

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