"Resilience of Freight Transportation Networks"
Elise Miller-Hooks - PI
Civil & Environmental Engineering
Risks from accidents, weather-induced hazards, and terrorist attacks on freight and passenger transport systems have dramatically increased in recent years. The occurrence of such events can have tremendous impact on system performance, especially intermodal (IM) systems, and can lead to significant economic loss. Even less monumental incidents, such as derailment of cars from tangent track, can lead to network-wide disruptions in service and ensuing delays. A secure and functioning transportation system is of paramount importance to society. To ensure that effective transport services can be provided in a disaster’s aftermath enabling society to recover, agencies charged with constructing, managing and operating these systems must invest in measures that prevent or mitigate the effects of disaster incidents. This research effort will result in mathematical tools (i.e. a stochastic, integer program and methodology for its solution) that will explicitly recognize that post-disaster performance of transportation networks depends not only on the inherent capability of the system to absorb externally induced changes, but also on the actions that can be taken in the immediate aftermath of the disaster to restore system performance. Remedial actions that may be taken pre-event, including, for example, adding additional links to the network, ordering spare parts or backup equipment, prepositioning resources in anticipation of potential recovery activities, implementation of advanced technologies, training, and other pre-event actions that can reduce the time required to complete potential recovery activities should they be required post-event will also be considered. Identification of the appropriate pre-event preparatory and post-disaster recovery actions and related investment allocation decisions can play a crucial role in lessening ensuing post-disaster economic and societal loss. Developments from this effort will support rail-based IM system performance measurement, operational decision-making, preparedness planning and immediate post-disaster action. Developed tools will aid infrastructure managers and IM system operators of rail-based IM passenger and freight transport systems in effectively addressing threats from disasters.