National Academies Press: OpenBook

Response to Extreme Weather Impacts on Transportation Systems (2014)

Chapter: APPENDIX B Interview Discussion Guide

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Page 93
Suggested Citation:"APPENDIX B Interview Discussion Guide." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Response to Extreme Weather Impacts on Transportation Systems. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22376.
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Suggested Citation:"APPENDIX B Interview Discussion Guide." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Response to Extreme Weather Impacts on Transportation Systems. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22376.
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Suggested Citation:"APPENDIX B Interview Discussion Guide." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Response to Extreme Weather Impacts on Transportation Systems. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22376.
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Suggested Citation:"APPENDIX B Interview Discussion Guide." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Response to Extreme Weather Impacts on Transportation Systems. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22376.
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Page 96

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93 APPENDIX B Interview Discussion Guide Interview Questionnaire Thank you for agreeing to support NCHRP 20-05/Topic 44-08, “Response to Extreme Weather Impacts on Transportation Systems.” By answering the following questions, you will provide information that will form the basis of a case example on extreme weather impacts on transportation and the responses to those impacts in your state. This case example will be included with seven to nine others in a synthesis report that presents lessons learned and other practices, which can aid your peers seeking to address similar issues. The following discussion guide, presented in questionnaire form, is designed to help develop the various case examples in this research project. The actual interview will track this document’s contents and sequence of questions, but not every ques- tion will be fully relevant. We welcome efforts to consider your answers ahead of time, especially for Section I, and, at your discretion, to supply the Principal Investigator with an annotated copy before or after the interview. ________________________________________________________ I. Interviewee Data and Information on Selected Extreme Weather Event 1. Organizational information State: Agency/division (to most specific level): Name of designated interviewee(s): Contact information: Role of interviewee at the organization (current): Role of interviewee at the organization (time of the event): Role of interviewee in incident response (if different from organizational role at time of event): 2. Information on extreme weather event Weather event to be described: Specific weather phenomena observed (including relative severity, if information is available): Secondary weather event(s) influencing response to the primary event: Dates the weather event commenced, including year: Duration of the event: Duration of the organization’s involvement over the course of the entire event: Have you documented the organizational response to this event? Have others?

94 Have you been involved in a research project in which you described aspects of this event? Do you have the citation or a reference? 3. Please describe the organization’s major activities in this extreme weather event. II. Impact of the Extreme Weather Event on Transportation Please briefly describe the following items as they relate to your organization’s mission, unless otherwise indicated. 1. Physical impacts a. To transportation infrastructure and operations (all modes and including impacts on local transportation facilities) b. To the infrastructure and operations of your organization c. To the mode(s) of transportation under your purview 2. Financial impacts to the organization 3. Financial impacts to transportation in the state 4. Economic consequences from the impact on transportation, where a basis of estimate exists 5. Environmental consequences from the impact on transportation 6. Social consequences from the impact on transportation 7. Policy and political consequences from the impact on transportation 8. Legal issues 9. Other entities on which your organization relied in managing impacts Please describe why you would consider this an extreme weather event. III. Government Activities Relating to Extreme Weather Events, including Preparedness, Response, Recovery, and Mitigation as well as Elements of Incident Command System Management, such as Operations, Planning, Logis- tics, and Finance/Administration. 1. Please describe, broadly, the level of preparedness (low, medium, high) you feel the organization had for this specific type of event. 2. For each of the following areas, as appropriate, please identify best practices your organization adopted or observed in decision support and in the management of this extreme weather event: Operations Maintenance Design Construction Planning Public communications Interagency coordination Data management Performance metrics

95 Other areas of significance under this extreme weather event 3. Please describe three to five examples of policies and protocols in place to address the needed action under this event (e.g., evacuation messaging, public safety messaging). 4. Did you have in place any policies and protocols to address the extreme weather event? For example, please describe any examples of preparedness for other types of events (security, other forms of extreme weather, etc.) that the orga- nization had in place that were recognized as useful to this extreme weather event by management, operations, or the front line. 5. Please describe any challenges you faced in responding to the extreme weather event (for example, lack of data/infor- mation needed to respond appropriately). 6. Please describe successes in responding to the extreme weather event. 7. Please describe the scope and duration of the Incident Command System, if any, invoked at the time of the extreme weather event. 8. Were there preparedness policies or other directives and requirements that conflicted with or confused the response to this particular extreme weather event? 9. For this extreme weather event (and, broadly speaking, the timeframe within which your organizational managed it), please describe the top three to five most effective resources, processes, and other tools associated with each of the following, where applicable: a. Preparedness b. Response c. Recovery d. Mitigation 10. For instances where an event’s severity built up over a long period of time or had a sustained impact requiring ongoing and non-routine management, please name or describe the stages or phases of action your organization developed to manage the event and any process invoked or developed. 11. Please describe the procedures for collecting data, observations, and narratives that will document and record the scope, severity, and other elements of the extreme weather event. Are these collected in a standard way? Are they used to inform decisions in a routine or replicable way? 12. Please describe interagency coordination before, during, and after this event, including coordination (if any) with local governments, National Guard, police, adjoining states, private operators of transportation (e.g., freight rail, intercity bus), transit, and other modes. 13. Please describe the communications efforts for this event, taking into account and differentiating among initial and later phases of the extreme weather event. a. Describe communications i. within the organization ii. with other state entities iii. with local entities iv. with each federal agency v. with the public generally vi. with affected individuals vii. with communities affected by the event directly

96 viii. with communities affected by agency action, such as detours ix. with the media x. with interests groups, such as private contractors, freight carriers, unions (internal and external to the organization). b. Describe the most effective forms of communication (e.g., social media). c. If social media was used for communication to the public, were there instances where social media was solely relied on to relay certain information? Describe how technical information that helped determine hazards and risks during this event was discovered, vetted, and communicated. 14. There are some emerging practices for addressing the increases in frequency or severity of extreme weather events. These include • Positioning your agency for reimbursement from federal programs • Pre-assigning internal roles • Determining the use of detours • Utilization of GIS (e.g., to identify hotspots, problem areas for maintenance) • Public works emergency response mutual aid agreements • Timely advocacy for more investments in studies for mitigation options • Improving public communication. Do you agree with this list? Please note those points that are irrelevant to your example of extreme weather in Section II, even when important in other instances. Would you add other activities, based on the specific instance you described above? Please detail the elements these additional activities that were successful for your organization or a case similar the one you described. 15. Please describe the funding sources used to prepare and respond to the extreme weather event and any challenges associated with securing funding. For example, describe the forms of funding used at each stage of the event and the following mechanics of their use: transfers among accounts, expedited requests, leveraging of the funding sources, etc. What data were needed to justify the request or allocation and the accessibility of each data source? 16. Please describe your satisfaction (low, medium, high) with the ways your organization used the financial analysis pro- cess (that for routine and for non-routine or emergency circumstances) to render decisions during the extreme weather event. 17. With respect to financial processes, please describe examples of innovation, streamlining, and/or collaboration that you wish to share. For example, did your organization assign specific project numbers and work codes prior to completing the work? 18. What were the methods for estimating cost, tools used in cost benefit, and other analyses used during the event, and what, if any, improvements have been instituted since? 19. Please describe how your organization used geospatial data and tools to collect and share information on the extreme weather event. Did you also use this information to make financial decisions? 20. Does your organization have ways to measure response to an extreme weather event?

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TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis 454: Response to Extreme Weather Impacts on Transportation Systems examines eight recent cases of extreme weather in the United States from the perspectives of transportation operations, maintenance, design, construction, planning, communications, interagency coordination, and data and knowledge management.

Appendices C-H are only available in the PDF version of the report.

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