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Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Deploying Transportation Resilience Practices in State DOTs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26209.
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Page 8
Page 9
Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Deploying Transportation Resilience Practices in State DOTs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26209.
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Page 9

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8 SUMMARY The purpose of National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) 20-117, Deploying Transportation Resilience Practices in State DOTs, was to develop a set of tools and products for agencies interested in achieving a “resilience-focused” culture in their organizations. For purposes of this research, a resilience-focused transportation agency is one that has “…the ability to anticipate, prepare for and adapt to changing transportation system conditions and withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions.” Two major research products in support of this purpose was the development of a Resilience Guide and Self-Assessment Tool for use by transportation officials and organizing a Resilience Innovations Summit and Exchange (RISE). RISE was structured to share insights and best practices among state DOTs and others that support mainstreaming resilience concepts throughout an entire organization. The key observations from the RISE meeting included: • Transportation system resilience should be a concern for all transportation agencies and their partners. • Creating a state DOT culture of resilience starts with agency leadership. • Most transportation agencies feel comfortable with their planning and implementing emergency response procedures. • Transportation system resilience should be considered in all functional units within a transportation agency. • Incorporating resilience concerns into decision-making processes is a key step for success. • Many executive-level transportation officials recommended that the transportation planning process is one of the most important areas where risk and resilience needs to be considered. • The consequences of system disruptions often have greater impacts on disadvantaged populations and thus transportation agencies need to consider such impacts in resilience efforts. • There is an important need for developing information, tools, and data to “make the case” for resilience. • Analysis frameworks exist…and are being used. • Sharing best practices is one of the most effective means of enhancing professional capacity in resilience efforts. • Training and professional development opportunities are critical resources to a resilience- oriented agency. • The focus should be on what transportation systems enable, not on the transportation system itself. • Transportation agencies cannot do it alone. The research also produced Mainstreaming System Resilience Concepts into Transportation Agencies: A Guide, to help transportation agencies identify actions and strategies to improve the system resiliency efforts of their agencies. The guide, available as a separate document, is in the form of a self-assessment

9 tool that focuses on the current status of an agency’s efforts to improve the resilience of the transportation system and how then to improve an agency’s capacity through the mainstreaming of resilience concepts into agency decision-making and procedures. The self-assessment tool gathers in one sequence of steps the various activities that will enhance an agency’s resilience efforts aimed at natural and human-caused hazards and threats. The self-assessment tool guides transportation officials in, 1) understanding what their agency is currently doing that leads to a more resilient transportation system, 2) identifying where new or modified actions could be taken to enhance these efforts, and 3) recommending steps that can be taken to implement these actions. Some key characteristics of the self-assessment tool include: • The tool provides attention to both human-caused (e.g., cyberattacks) and natural disruptions (e.g., large-scale flooding). • The focus is on both the hazards that occur today as well as those that will likely occur in the future. Thus, the tool adopts a proactive approach to anticipate future disruptions to minimize possible impacts. • For some types of disruptions, such as climate change and weather-related events, relying on historic trends, data, or institutional knowledge will likely underestimate potential future threats given changes in the underlying phenomena. For example, future climate conditions are likely to be very different from the extension of past experience. In such cases, different analysis and data collection might be necessary. • The types of impacts considered are those that occur persistently as well as those that might occur once-in-a-lifetime. • Every functional area within a DOT has a role in making the transportation system more resilient, and thus strategies are offered as part of the guide that cross typical agency lines of responsibility. • Planning for and responding to disruptions often requires the participation of many different agencies, organizations, communities, and groups that leads to multidisciplinary collaborative efforts. Strategies relating to such collaborations are identified. • The benefits, costs, and impacts of having a resilient transportation system (or not) go beyond just those happening to a DOT or for that matter to the transportation system. Community resilience, economic, and social impacts, and in a broad sense, quality of life, can be affected as well. The final section of the report discusses strategies for implementing the results of this research and for creating a more lasting institutional focus on transportation system resilience. These strategies focus on possible national efforts (e.g., creating something similar to the current National Traffic Incident Management Coalition (NTIMC) organization), state-level initiatives (e.g., training and peer exchanges), and efforts to include system resilience concepts into educational and training programs.

Next: Chapter 1: PROJECT CONTEXT, RESEARCH OBJECTIVES, AND APPROACH »
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