Explorations Around “Graceful Failure” in Transportation Infrastructure: Lessons Learned By the Infrastructure and Climate Network (ICNet)

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 11:15 AM
Jennifer M Jacobs1, Natacha Thomas2, Weiwei Mo1, Paul H Kirshen1, Ellen Marie Douglas3, Jo Daniel1, Erin Bell1, Lee Friess1, Rajib Mallick4, Jack Kartez5, Katharine Hayhoe6 and Silvana Croope7, (1)Univ New Hampshire, Durham, NH, United States, (2)University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI, United States, (3)Univ Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA, United States, (4)Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA, United States, (5)University of Southern Maine, Gorham, ME, United States, (6)Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, United States, (7)Delaware Department of Transportation, Dover, DE, United States
Recent events have demonstrated that the United States’ transportation infrastructure is highly vulnerable to extreme weather events which will likely increase in the future. In light of the 60% shortfall of the $900 billion investment needed over the next five years to maintain this aging infrastructure, hardening of all infrastructures is unlikely. Alternative strategies are needed to ensure that critical aspects of the transportation network are maintained during climate extremes. Preliminary concepts around multi-tier service expectations of bridges and roads with reference to network capacity will be presented. Drawing from recent flooding events across the U.S., specific examples for roads/pavement will be used to illustrate impacts, disruptions, and trade-offs between performance during events and subsequent damage. This talk will also address policy and cultural norms within the civil engineering practice that will likely challenge the application of graceful failure pathways during extreme events.