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91 APPENDIX A Research Method The research method for this Synthesis Report is detailed here. Literature Review The literature review included analysis of extreme weather definitions and reports, largely from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other science agencies; emergency management guides and reports related to the transportation sector; workshop and meeting minutes, as well as reports produced by states in the aftermath of extreme weather events; news articles; and materials prepared by associations and research bodies, such as AASHTO and the TRB. Generally, the literature review covered professional literature, media reports, and federal, state, local, and nonprofit and agency websites. Research was supplemented by materials supplied by interview subjects. Case Examples Selection of Case Examples The extreme weather events used as case examples in this synthesis report were identified in the literature review and through other research and analysis. The initial profile of weather events found in the literature was analyzed based on the type of weather events listed in the expert panelâs October 2012 Scope of Work. As such, candidate case examples were to have the following characteristics: â¢ They occurred within the past decade (2002â2012). â¢ They had a significant effect on the transportation system, which included â Multiple modes â Local highways. â¢ They are geographically diverse. â¢ They are extreme events, including â Riverine flooding (two or more) â High-intensity rain events â Hurricanes â Wildfires â Drought â Tornadoes â Prolonged heat events â Snowstorms. To narrow the field and establish an initial set of cases, judgments were made about the cases that may best represent extreme conditions. Examples of these judgments follow. â¢ The NOAA website devoted to âextreme weatherâ events, begun by that agency in 2011, was a useful and authoritative resource on extreme weather events. Reliance on this website may have resulted in the use of more recent events in this report. â¢ Consideration of how extreme weather events are defined by various experts. â¢ Consideration of the TRB expert panelâs requirement to have at least two riverine flooding events among the eight events. â¢ Consideration of the TRB expert panelâs requirement for geographic diversity. This requirement was interpreted, in part, as implicating weather events unusual to a region of the United States now and projected to increase in the future, as described in relevant sources (USGCRP; FHWA, 2010). â¢ Consideration of the kinds of transportation infrastructure that were of specific interest to the TRB expert panel, based on written comments from the expert panelâs meeting of August 24, 2012, and a September 23, 2012, teleconference with the expert panel: â Multimodal impacts â Road system impacts (over other modes) â Local highways (not just interstates).
92 â¢ Consideration of the thresholds at which weather may be âextremeâ for a given mode, with reference to information on weather safety thresholds for surface transportation reported by the federal government (WIST). â¢ Consideration of the dimensions of extreme weather impacts and consequences for an affected geographical area, as outlined in LeviÃ¤kangas et al. (2011), which was referred to by the TRB expert panel as the âEVENT studyâ and cited as a favorable methodology for choosing among extreme weather events affecting transportation systems: â Climatologic zone â Technological and institutional preparedness â Frequency on chronological or probability scale â Intensity and severity of impacts and consequences â Chronology of impacts and consequences â Geographical dimension â Economic distribution effects. The TRB expert panel considered a proposed list of case examples; through this expert panel review, the 2011 flooding in Tennessee also emerged as a candidate case example. Research and analysis confirmed that this event was an appropriate sub- ject due to its 1,000-year flood status, NOAAâs categorization of the event as an extreme weather event, and the LeviÃ¤kangas et al. (2011) dimensions of this extreme weather event. Case example interviews Structured interviews were conducted with operations, emergency management, and/or pro- gram leads in state DOTs where the extreme weather events had effect. Where needed, managers responsible for specific subjectsâparticularly programming, financial assistance, and field operationsâwere included in group interviews. Potential interviewees were identified during the case example selection process as well as through the assistance of the expert panel and TRB staff. Each interviewee received a standard set of questions and accompanying guidance with which to prepare for the interview. The document provided to the interviewees was an interview discussion guide and is found in Appendix B. Drafts of the case examples were reviewed by relevant interviewees. Short follow-up interviews were conducted to collect critical details as well as to supplement analysis across the case examples. Interviewee Profiles Extreme Weather Event State Department Number of Interviewees(total) Expertise Hurricane Sandy (2012) New Jersey Department of Transportation 1 Operations; Management Riverine Flooding (2011) Iowa Department of Transportation 2 Traffic Operations; Emergency Operations; Management High-Intensity Rain and \ Tornadoes (2010) Tennessee Department of Transportation 1 Operations; Engineering; Management High-Intensity Rain (2007) Washington Department of Transportation 1 Emergency Management Tropical Storm Irene and Riverine Flooding (2011) Vermont Agency for Transportation 2 Operations; Programs; Management Snowstorms (2011â2012) Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities 4 Operations; Maintenance; Planning; Finance; Management Drought and Wildfires (2011) Texas Department of Transportation 1 Emergency Management; Management Prolonged Heat Event (2012) Wisconsin Department of Transportation 2 Maintenance; Engineering; Management