Freight economic vulnerabilities due to flooding events.

Freight economic vulnerabilities due to flooding events.

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  • Abstract:
    Extreme weather events, and flooding in particular, have been occurring more often and with increased severity over the past decade, and there is reason to expect this trend will continue in the future due to a changing climate. Flooding events can upset freight transportation infrastructure and operations as damage to or loss of the infrastructure itself and as indirect impacts caused by delivery delays associated with rerouting around affected areas or the inability to deliver to locations that have been cut off from the network. A prior CFIRE research project that evaluated the suitability of precipitation and flood impact models for estimating the freight economic risks associated with future flooding events found that the impact models fell short of characterizing economic damage and loss associated with some freight transportation infrastructure and with impaired freight mobility altogether. This project focuses on addressing this shortcoming by developing a revised methodology that takes these considerations into account, and then demonstrates how practitioners can utilize publicly available tools to approximate the vulnerabilities and potential impacts of future flooding on transportation infrastructure components. Full economic evaluation of the impacts of a range of flooding events is challenging due to lack of available and accessible data. To circumvent this, a survey of stakeholders was performed to correlate extent of flooding across a range of scenarios and the impacts to a range of transportation types. The survey results are still being analyzed and therefore will be forthcoming in a journal paper at a later date. Here, we present an approach to identify individual transportation assets that may be at risk and how one publicly available tool can be used to prioritize and somewhat “assess” the vulnerability of individual assets in comparison to others.
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