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Suggested Citation:"Guidebook." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Improving the Resilience of Transit Systems Threatened by Natural Disasters, Volume 2: Research Overview. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24974.
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TCRP A-41: Final Research Report 1 Background and Research Approach Most scientists agree that some level of climate change has already occurred, weather patterns are changing, and these changes are expected to continue or accelerate in the future. Past weather and climate patterns appear to be much less reliable indicators of future weather and climate than in recent decades, which necessitates greater flexibility in planning and decision-making processes. Building resilience to climate and extreme weather events is vital to protect future and current investments and maintain safe operational capabilities of current systems. Adaptation to climate change can include adjusting how transportation infrastructure is planned for, designed, built, maintained and operated. Making resilience to extreme weather and natural disasters a standard part of agency planning can ensure that resources are invested wisely and that services and operations remain effective. The prospect of extreme weather events and severe funding shortages would seem to compel transit agencies to build resilience into their strategic, capital, and operational plans. After all, proactive spending on resilience saves money in the longer run and enables transit agencies to rebound more quickly and serve their customers more effectively. While some agencies have risen to the challenges posed by climate change and the impacts of extreme weather, many or most transit agencies have not made the transition from “everyday” practices into a comprehensive, forward-looking, risk-based approach to resilience. TCRP A-41, Improving the Resilience of Transit Systems Threatened by Natural Disasters, was initiated on February 14, 2015. The project included an extensive literature review, 17 transit agency case studies, a workshop to test the proposed framework for the Guide, and the development of the Guide itself, with its accompanying Webpage and database of tools and resources. The project also included extensive interaction with APTA to develop a way to incorporate resilience into APTA standards and guidance, as a long-term tactic to institutionalize resilience practices within transit agencies. This report summarizes the major elements of the research effort, with references to full documentation where appropriate. The final section of the report (prior to the bibliography) identifies additional research needs that have been identified during the course of the study. Guidebook The signature product of the research is the guidebook, Improving the Resilience of Transit Systems Threatened by Natural Disasters, Volume 1: A Guide. A link to this Guide and a Transit Resilience Website with a database of easily downloaded information, is available at The guidebook includes a preface, introduction and four chapters. Chapter 1 demonstrates different paths agencies have taken to work toward resilience, such as sustainability, asset management, and emergency response. Chapter 2 provides a step by step process with tools to promote resilience within the agency. Chapter 3 provides a parallel process to link the agency into regional resilience, with recommendations for types of advance agreements to improve readiness. Chapter 4 profiles tools, case studies, and resources that are housed on the project webpage.

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TRB's Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Web Only Document 70: Improving the Resilience of Transit Systems Threatened by Natural Disasters, Volume 2: Research Overview summarizes elements of the research effort that offers practices for transit systems of all sizes to absorb the impacts of disaster, recover quickly, and return rapidly to providing the services that customers rely on to meet their travel needs. It also explores additional research needs that have been identified during the course of the study. The report is accompanied by Volume 1: A Guide, Volume 3: Literature Review and Case Studies, and a database called to help practitioners search for and identify tools to help plan for natural disasters.

This website is offered as is, without warranty or promise of support of any kind either expressed or implied. Under no circumstance will the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine or the Transportation Research Board (collectively "TRB") be liable for any loss or damage caused by the installation or operation of this product. TRB makes no representation or warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, in fact or in law, including without limitation, the warranty of merchantability or the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, and shall not in any case be liable for any consequential or special damages.

TRB hosted a webinar that discusses the research on March 12, 2018. A recording is available.

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