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Guidebook 49 Transportation Case Studies 3 Study California Seismic Bridge Retrofit Case Program Value to Sell: The life safety benefits expected from incremental research on seismic retrofit methods. Context Content Since the 1970s, four major earthquakes have Clear and concise messaging of technical struck California and, among other effects, information to nontechnical decision makers, demonstrated the serious impacts of earthquakes media, and the public was carried out in visual on transportation infrastructure. Researchers used demonstrations of test results. Caltrans used simple information obtained from each quake for further graphics that highlighted relationships between the investigations, and for the testing and deployment data and the factors considered by decision makers. of materials and engineering modifications to To help nontechnical readers comprehend technical bridges throughout the state. The goal of the writing, most papers were only three to four pages research was to minimize the structural impacts and and focused on personalizing the findings as much destruction caused by earthquakes and to maintain as possible, as well as providing short illustrations or the integrity of bridges in vulnerable areas. graphs with relevant and consistent scales. Strategy Channel and Style California Department of Transportation's (Caltrans) Personal interactions were the most popular Seismic Bridge Retrofit Program framed the channel used by Caltrans. The partnerships created issue around the serious threat of earthquakes among researchers, sponsors, and others allowed for and shared concern with officials and the public a diverse group of experts to collaborate in solving about transportation infrastructure stability and problems. Interactions among researchers through safety. To ensure rapid implementation of its open meetings provided the teams with avenues for recommendations, the program quickly summarized peer review of papers and test results. Investment results from tests. In most cases, the program advisors were used to inform decisions on how identified a better design of a particular element of funding should be allocated. The information used existing infrastructure, rather than advocating an in these decisions was presented in short and entirely new structure. In addition, partnerships and concise printed reports that focused on presenting coalitions were built among researchers, engineers, technical information in a comprehensive format. sponsors, legislators, state agencies, and utility Broadcast and computer-based communication companies to help foster a team environment that followed a similar format, with graphic displays bred efficiency and improved research results. being used to illustrate data in the form of video and The collaborations among research peers allowed slides. This format helped nontechnical audiences for quality control--frequent review of papers, understand the technical information. quarterly meetings--and better implementation of results. Furthermore, Caltrans allowed management to use streamlined processes, resulting in improved project flexibility and a more responsive and nimble program that was able to take advantage of research opportunities as they arose.