National Academies Press: OpenBook

Critical Issues in Transportation 2019 (2018)

Chapter: Resilience and Security

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Page 12
Suggested Citation:"Resilience and Security." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Critical Issues in Transportation 2019. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25314.
Page 12

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Resilience and Security Recent intense floods, super storms, and hurricanes have disrupted the lives of millions and caused hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of damage.49 Combined with the vulnerability of transportation facilities to terrorism, these events have made public and private officials acutely aware of the need to identify community vulnerabilities and plan for responses to natural and human-caused disasters, including near- and long-term climate change effects on sea level rise, droughts, forest fires, and heat waves.50 Communities face differing threats and will need strategies fitted to their circumstances. Businesses, shippers, and carriers must anticipate and plan for supply chain resilience in the face of broad disruptions. An equally compelling set of questions addresses the larger challenge of protecting, modifying, rebuilding, or relocating highly vulnerable highways, bridges, transit facilities, railroads, waterways, airports, and ports to make them more resilient; it may be necessary to add redundancy where possible and even abandon some facilities. It is critically important to determine how to pay for improved resilience in the short term to save money in the long term. 14. Terrorist strikes worldwide continue to demonstrate the vulnerability of transportation facilities where masses of people gather.51 Aviation has developed layers of security to protect against terrorism, albeit at a high cost. Other modes are more open and vulnerable— including airports, rail and transit stations, and seagoing vessels (piracy). Improved analysis of trade-offs between security and the efficiency of freight and passenger movement is needed to inform policy makers. How can strategies appropriate for each mode be developed to apply layers of security without excessively impeding the movements of passengers and goods? 52 15. The development of robust risk assessment and management methods for vulnerable assets and policies and designs for extreme events is an important next step in preparing for resilience.53 What kinds of decision-making tools can best help transportation agencies make appropriate decisions about climate change and terrorism in a risk-management framework? How can risk management approaches be incorporated into transportation planning and decision making? How can results from climate models be translated into changes in design standards for severe weather events? 16. Proposals to adapt, operate, and strengthen infrastructure to be more resilient raise a number of key questions.54 a. Which policies, programs, research topics, and investments can and should be undertaken to adapt existing transportation facilities and systems to rising sea levels, stronger storm surges, more frequent flooding, and other powerful and damaging weather extremes? b. How can the experiences of communities and states that are beginning to adapt and change55 be best evaluated and shared? c. In light of the inability to be precise about the scale and timing of future impacts, how can funding policies, designs, and standards be modified to build in flexibility to allow for needed adaptation, including the rebuilding of more resilient infrastructure after it is damaged or destroyed? d. What evidence would convince policy makers and the public of the need to incur the extra, near-term costs of adaptive management? trb | transportation research board12

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The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and equity issues will be included soon in

Critical Issues in Transportation 2019

. In this report, which is updated periodically by the TRB Executive Committee, a series of challenging questions are posed to explore issues and opportunities that may arise 10 to 20 years into the future. These questions, 63 in all, have been organized into 12 topic areas and provide a way to frame future areas of research, policy analysis, and debate.

Critical issues identified in this report deserve attention because of transportation’s central role in serving individuals and society. This document serves to sharpen society's collective understanding of transportation and its ramifications, while informing decisions by individual citizens and officials in both the public and private sectors. The issues have been identified and documented from a U.S. perspective, and are also common across developed nations.

Download the executive overview, Critical Issues in Transportation: Policy Snapshot and or visit from your mobile device.

On March 5, 2019, TRB and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) cohosted a webinar that covered TRB’s Critical Issues in Transportation 2019 report and the 2019-2020 NTSB’s Most Wanted List. Presenters focused on issues of safety and security across all modes of transportation.

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