The United States will certainly be subject to damaging earthquakes in the future, and some of those earthquakes will occur in highly populated and vulnerable areas. Just as Hurricane Katrina tragically demonstrated for hurricane events, coping with moderate earthquakes is not a reliable indicator of preparedness for a major earthquake in a populated area. This report presents a roadmap for increasing our national resilience to earthquakes, including the infrequent—but inevitable—Katrina-like earthquake events.
The United States has not experienced a great1 earthquake since 1964, when Alaska was struck by a magnitude-9.2 event, and the damage in Alaska was relatively light because of the sparse population. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake was the most recent truly devastating U.S. shock, because recent destructive earthquakes have been only moderate to strong in size. Consequently, a sense has developed that the country can cope effectively with the earthquake threat and is, in fact, “resilient.” However, coping with moderate events may not be a true indicator of preparedness for a great one. One means to understand the potential effects from major earthquakes is to use scenarios, where communities simulate the effects and responses to a specified earthquake. Analysis of the 2008 ShakeOut scenario in California (Jones et al., 2008), which involved more than 5,000
1 Damaging effects from earthquakes reflect not only the earthquake magnitude, but also ground motion as measured by velocity, acceleration, frequency, and shaking duration. U.S. Geological Survey definitions of earthquake magnitude classes are “great” =M≥8; “major” M=7-7.9; “strong” M=6-6.9; “moderate” M=5-5.9; etc. See earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/faq/?faqID=24.
emergency responders and the participation of more than 5.5 million citizens, indicated that the magnitude-7.8 scenario earthquake would have resulted in an estimated 1,800 fatalities, $113 billion in damages to buildings and lifelines, and nearly $70 billion in business interruption. Such an earthquake would clearly have a major effect on the nation as a whole, emphasizing the need to develop the capacity to reduce such effects—to increase our national earthquake resilience.
The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) is the multi-agency program mandated by Congress to undertake activities to reduce the effects of future earthquakes in the United States. NEHRP was initially authorized by Congress in 1977 and subsequently reauthorized on 2- to 5-year intervals. The four federal agencies with funding authorizations and legislatively mandated responsibilities for NEHRP activities are the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). In 2009, NEHRP funding was $129.7 million, allocated to the USGS ($61.2 million), NSF ($55.3 million), FEMA ($9.1 million), and NIST ($4.1 million) (NIST, 2008). In 2008, the NEHRP agencies developed a Strategic Plan with the aim of providing a sound basis for future activities. The plan is focused on 14 objectives that are grouped into three major goals: to improve understanding of earthquake processes and impacts; to develop cost-effective measures to reduce earthquake impacts on individuals, the built environment, and society-at-large; and to improve the earthquake resilience of communities nationwide.
NIST—the lead NEHRP agency—commissioned the National Research Council (NRC) to develop a roadmap for earthquake hazard and risk reduction in the United States that would be based on the goals and objectives for achieving national earthquake resilience described in the 2008 NEHRP Strategic Plan. The NRC committee was directed to assess the activities, and their costs, that would be required for the nation to achieve earthquake resilience in 20 years. The charge to the committee recognized that there would be a requirement for some sustained activities under the NEHRP program after this 20-year period (see full statement of task in Chapter 1, Box 1.2).
DEFINING EARTHQUAKE RESILIENCE
A critical requirement for achieving national earthquake resilience is, of course, an understanding of what constitutes earthquake resilience. In this report, we have interpreted resilience broadly so that it incorporates engineering/science (physical), social/economic (behavioral), and institutional (governing) dimensions. Resilience is also interpreted to encompass both pre- and post-disaster actions that, in combination, will enhance the
robustness and the capabilities of all earthquake-vulnerable regions of our nation to function adequately following damaging earthquakes. The committee is also cognizant that it is cost-prohibitive to achieve a completely seismically resistant nation. Instead, we see our mission as helping set performance targets for improving the nation’s seismic resilience over the next 20 years and, in turn, developing a more detailed road map and program priorities for NEHRP. With these considerations in mind, the committee recommends that NEHRP adopt the following working definition for “national earthquake resilience”:
A disaster-resilient nation is one in which its communities, through mitigation and pre-disaster preparation, develop the adaptive capacity to maintain important community functions and recover quickly when major disasters occur.
ELEMENTS AND COSTS OF A RESILIENCE ROADMAP
The committee set out to build on the 2008 NEHRP Strategic Plan by specifying focused activities that would further implementation of the plan and provide the basis for a more earthquake-resilient nation. In the end, 18 tasks were identified, ranging from basic research to community-oriented applications, which, in our view, comprise a “roadmap” for furthering NEHRP goals and implementing the Strategic Plan. The tasks generally cross cut the goals and objectives described in the Strategic Plan because they are formulated as coherent activities that span from knowledge building to implementation.
The committee endorses the 2008 NEHRP Strategic Plan, and identifies 18 specific task elements required to implement that plan and materially improve national earthquake resilience.
In estimating costs to implement the roadmap, the committee recognizes that there is a high degree of variability among the 18 tasks—some are under way or are in the process of being implemented, whereas others are only at the conceptual stage. Costing each task required a thorough analysis to determine scope, implementation steps, and linkages or overlaps with other tasks. For some of the tasks, the necessary analysis had already been completed in workshops or other venues, and realistic cost estimates were available as input to the committee (see Appendix E for cost estimate details). For other tasks, the committee had to rely on its own expert opinion, in which case implementing the task may require some degree of additional detailed analysis. In summary, the annualized cost for the first 5 years of the roadmap for national earthquake resilience
presented here is $306.5 million/year (2009$), summarized in Table S.1 and made up of the following tasks:
1. Physics of Earthquake Processes. Conduct additional research to advance the understanding of earthquake phenomena and earthquake generation processes and to improve the predictive capabilities of earthquake science; 5-year annualized cost of $27 million/year, for a total 20-year cost of $585 million.
2. Advanced National Seismic System. Complete deployment of the remaining 75 percent of the Advanced National Seismic System; 5-year annualized cost of $66.8 million/year, for a total 20-year cost of $1.3 billion. On-going operations and maintenance costs after the initial 20-year period of $50 million/year.
3. Earthquake Early Warning. Evaluation, testing, and deployment of earthquake early warning systems; 5-year annualized cost of $20.6 million/year, for a total 20-year cost of $283 million.
4. National Seismic Hazard Model. Complete the national coverage of seismic hazard maps and create urban seismic hazard maps and seismic risk maps for at-risk communities; 5-year annualized cost of $50.1 million/year, for a total 20-year cost of $946.5 million.
5. Operational Earthquake Forecasting. Develop and implement operational earthquake forecasting, in coordination with state and local agencies; 5-year annualized cost of $5 million/year, for a total 20-year cost of $85 million. On-going operations and maintenance costs after the initial 20-year period are unknown.
6. Earthquake Scenarios. Develop scenarios that integrate earth science, engineering, and social science information so that communities can visualize earthquake and tsunami impacts and mitigate potential effects; 5-year annualized cost of $10 million/year, for a total 20-year cost of $200 million.
7. Earthquake Risk Assessments and Applications. Integrate science, engineering, and social science information in an advanced GIS-based loss estimation platform to improve earthquake risk assessments and loss estimations; 5-year annualized cost of $5 million/year, for a total 20-year cost of $100 million.
8. Post-earthquake Social Science Response and Recovery Research. Document and model the mix of expected and improvised emergency response and recovery activities and outcomes to improve pre-disaster mitigation and preparedness practices at household, organizational, community, and regional levels; 5-year annualized cost of $2.3 million/year, reviewed after the initial 5-years.
9. Post-earthquake Information Management. Capture, distill, and disseminate information about the geological, structural, institutional,
TABLE S.1 Compilation of Cost Estimates by Task, in Millions of Dollars (all figures are 2009 dollars).
|Annualized Costs (av.) Years 1-5 ($)
|Total Cost Years 1-5 ($)
|Total Cost Years 6-20 ($)
|Total Cost ($)
|Physics of Earthquake Processes
|Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS)a
|Earthquake Early Warning
|National Seismic Hazard Model
|Operational Earthquake Forecasting
|Earthquake Risk Assessments and Applications
|Post-earthquake Social Science Response and Recovery Research
|Post-earthquake Information Management
|Socioeconomic Research on Hazard Mitigation and Recovery
|Observatory Network on Community Resilience and Vulnerability
|Physics-based Simulations of Earthquake Damage and Loss
|Techniques for Evaluation and Retrofit of Existing Buildings
|Performance-based Earthquake Engineering for Buildings
|Guidelines for Earthquake-Resilient Lifelines Systems
|Next Generation Sustainable Materials, Components, and Systems
|Knowledge, Tools, and Technology Transfer to Public and Private Practice
|Earthquake-Resilient Communities and Regional Demonstration Projects
a Does not include support for geodetic monitoring or geodetic networks.
b Funding during the remaining 15 years of the plan would be based on a performance review after 5 years.
and socioeconomic impacts of specific earthquakes, as well as post-disaster response, and create and maintain a repository for post-earthquake reconnaissance data; 5-year annualized cost of $1 million/year, for a total 20-year cost of $14.6 million. On-going operations and maintenance costs after the initial 20-year period are unknown, but are likely to be small.
10. Socioeconomic Research on Hazard Mitigation and Recovery. Support basic and applied research in the social sciences to examine individual and organizational motivations to promote resilience, the feasibility and cost of resilience actions, and the removal of barriers to successful implementation; 5-year annualized cost of $3 million/year, for a total 20-year cost of $60 million.
11. Observatory Network on Community Resilience and Vulnerability. Establish an observatory network to measure, monitor, and model the disaster vulnerability and resilience of communities, with a focus on resilience and vulnerability; risk assessment, perception, and management strategies; mitigation activities; and reconstruction and recovery; of 5-year annualized cost $2.9 million/year, for a total 20-year cost of $57.3 million. On-going operations and maintenance costs after the initial 20-year period are unknown.
12. Physics-based Simulations of Earthquake Damage and Loss. Integrate knowledge gained in Tasks 1, 13, 14, and 16 to enable robust, fully coupled simulations of fault rupture, seismic wave propagation through bedrock, and soil-structure response to compute reliable estimates of financial loss, business interruption, and casualties; 5-year annualized cost of $6 million/year, for a total 20-year cost of $120 million.
13. Techniques for Evaluation and Retrofit of Existing Buildings. Develop analytical methods that predict the response of existing buildings with known levels of reliability based on integrated laboratory research and numerical simulations, and improve consensus standards for seismic evaluation and rehabilitation; 5-year annualized cost of $22.9 million/year, for a total 20-year cost of $543.6 million.
14. Performance-based Earthquake Engineering for Buildings. Advance performance-based earthquake engineering knowledge and develop implementation tools to improve design practice, inform decision-makers, and revise codes and standards for buildings, lifelines, and geo-structures; 5-year annualized cost of $46.7 million/year, for a total 20-year cost of $891.5 million.
15. Guidelines for Earthquake-Resilient Lifeline Systems. Conduct lifeline-focused collaborative research to better characterize infrastructure network vulnerability and resilience as the basis for the systematic review and updating of existing lifelines standards and guidelines, with targeted pilot programs and demonstration projects; 5-year annualized cost of $5 million/year, for a total 20-year cost of $100 million.
16. Next Generation Sustainable Materials, Components, and Systems. Develop and deploy new high-performance materials, components, and framing systems that are green and/or adaptive; 5-year annualized cost is $8.2 million/year, for a total 20-year cost of $334.4 million.
17. Knowledge, Tools, and Technology Transfer to Public and Private Practice. Initiate a program to encourage and coordinate technology transfer across the NEHRP domain to ensure the deployment of state-of-the-art mitigation techniques across the nation, particularly in regions of moderate seismic hazard; 5-year annualized cost of $8.4 million/year, for a total 20-year cost of $168 million.
18. Earthquake-Resilient Community and Regional Demonstration Projects. Support and guide community-based earthquake resiliency pilot projects to apply NEHRP-generated and other knowledge to improve awareness, reduce risk, and improve emergency preparedness and recovery capacity; 5-year annualized cost of $15.6 million/year, for a total 20-year cost of $1 billion.
TIMING OF ROADMAP COMPONENTS
The committee recommends that all the tasks identified here be initiated immediately, contingent on the availability of funds, and suggests that such an approach would represent an appropriate balance between practical activities to enhance national earthquake resilience and the research that is needed to provide a sound basis for such activities. However, at a lower component level within individual tasks, there are some elements that should be implemented and/or initiated immediately whereas others will have to await the results of earlier activities. Sequencing information and detailed cost breakdowns are listed for several tasks in Appendix E. The committee also notes that the two “observatory” elements of the roadmap, Task 2 and Task 11, will—or do at present—provide fundamental information to be used by numerous other tasks.
EARTHQUAKE RESILIENCE AND AGENCY COORDINATION
The four NEHRP agencies, although comprising a critical core group for building earthquake knowledge, constitute only part of the national research and application enterprise on which earthquake resilience is based. In the applications area, virtually every agency that builds or operates facilities contributes to the goals of NEHRP by adopting practices or codes to reduce earthquake impacts. These agencies include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Departments of Transportation, Energy, and Housing and Urban Development. Beyond the role of the federal agencies, government agencies at all levels similarly play a critical role in the
application of earthquake knowledge, as does the private sector, especially in the area of building design. Altogether, the contributors to reducing earthquake losses constitute a complex enterprise that goes far beyond the scope of NEHRP. But NEHRP provides an important focus for this far-flung endeavor. The committee considers that an analysis to determine whether coordination among all organizations that contribute to NEHRP could be improved would be useful and timely.
IMPLEMENTING NEHRP KNOWLEDGE
Most critical decisions that reduce earthquake vulnerability and manage earthquake risk are made in the private sector by individuals and companies. The information provided by NEHRP, if made available in an understandable format and accompanied by diffusion processes, can greatly assist citizens in their decision-making. For example, maps of active faults, unstable ground, and historic seismicity can influence where people choose to live, and maps of relative ground shaking can guide building design.
NEHRP will have accomplished its fundamental purpose—an earthquake-resilient nation—when those responsible for earthquake risk and for managing the consequences of earthquake events use the knowledge and services created by NEHRP and other related endeavors to make our communities more earthquake resilient. Increasing resiliency requires awareness of earthquake risk, knowing what to do to address that risk, and doing it. But providing information is not enough to achieve resilience—the diffusion of NEHRP knowledge and implementation of that knowledge are necessary corollaries. Successfully diffusing NEHRP knowledge into communities and among the earthquake professionals, state and local government officials, building owners, lifeline operators, and others who have the responsibility for how buildings, systems, and institutions respond to and recover from earthquakes, will require a dedicated and strategic effort. This diffusion role reflects the limited authority that resides with federal agencies in addressing the earthquake threat. Local and state governments have responsibility for public safety and welfare, including powers to regulate land use to avoid hazards, establish and enforce building codes to withstand earthquake forces, provide warnings to threatened communities, and respond to an event. The goals and objectives of NEHRP are aimed at supporting and facilitating measures to improve resilience through private owners and businesses, and supporting local and state agencies in carrying out their duties. Although implementing NEHRP knowledge should move ahead expeditiously, it is also essential that the frontiers of knowledge be advanced in concert, requiring that improving understanding of the earthquake threat, reducing risk, and developing the processes to motivate implementation actions, should all be continuing endeavors.