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Advancing Resilience to the Top of the Transportation Agenda

Chapter Host: Washington, D.C  | October 10, 2022  |  55:40 minutes

Resilience of our transportation systems, their ability to resist and quickly recover from disruptions, has become a central concern as climate change amplifies and extends the disruptive and destructive impacts of natural hazards such as tropical storms, flooding, wildfires, and snowstorms, on transportation infrastructure and services. To grow the resilience of transportation facilities and systems, we need timely data, informative metrics, and routine procedures to mainstream resilience decision making in transportation policy and decision making.

The Transportation Research Board, in response to a Congressional mandate extended through the US Department of Transportation, recently convened a Consensus Study to identify and examine metrics that can be used to assess the resilience of existing infrastructure and inform the planning of investments in infrastructure for the surface, marine, and aviation modes of passenger and freight transportation.

In this presentation, Joseph Schofer, chair of the Consensus Study panel, will describe the study process, and provide an overview of the panel’s report and recommendations to both the USDOT and the Congress, including key resilience metrics, use of benefit-cost analysis, and mixing monetary, quantitative, and qualitative considerations. He will offer his perspectives on both moving the resilience planning forward and important needs for continuing research.

Joseph L. Schofer is Professor Emeritus of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. His research and teaching interests are in policy planning, evaluation, and decision support for transportation and other infrastructure systems. He continues his career-long engagement with the Transportation Research Board, currently chairing the TRB Standing Committee on Data for Decision Making, and the recently initiated Consensus Study on Transitioning Evidence-Based Road Safety Research into Practice. He received the TRB Roy Crum Award for Research in 2011 and served as TRB’s Thomas B. Deen Distinguished Lecturer in 2014.

He is a fellow of the Institute of Transportation Engineers, a life Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Since 2009, Dr. Schofer has hosted the Infrastructure Show, a monthly podcast on which he interviews infrastructure experts on problems, opportunities, and innovations in civil infrastructure systems.  Schofer earned his B.E. from Yale University and an M.S. and Ph.D. from Northwestern University.

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