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Suggested Citation:"Summary: What We Learned from the Case Studies ." 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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Suggested Citation:"Summary: What We Learned from the Case Studies ." 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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Suggested Citation:"Summary: What We Learned from the Case Studies ." 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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Suggested Citation:"Summary: What We Learned from the Case Studies ." 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.
×
Page 36
Page 37
Suggested Citation:"Summary: What We Learned from the Case Studies ." 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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Page 38
Suggested Citation:"Summary: What We Learned from the Case Studies ." 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.
×
Page 38
Page 39
Suggested Citation:"Summary: What We Learned from the Case Studies ." 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.
×
Page 39
Page 40
Suggested Citation:"Summary: What We Learned from the Case Studies ." 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.
×
Page 40

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

TCRP A-41: Final Research Report 33 Summary: What We Learned from the Case Studies Defining “Resilience” The National Academies has defined resilience as “the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, respond, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events,” noting further that “enhanced resilience allows better anticipation of disasters and better planning to reduce disaster losses –– rather than waiting for an event to occur and paying for it afterward.” This definition was mostly unfamiliar among the transit agencies interviewed for this study. While all the agencies interviewed have taken actions that enhance the resilience of their infrastructure and operations, many indicated that the term resilience is not frequently used. Nonetheless, several agencies have developed their own definitions. For example, Los Angeles County MTA (LA Metro) defines resilience as “the ability to provide core functions in the face of threats and recover quickly from major shocks or changing conditions.” NJ TRANSIT defines resilience as “being better prepared to withstand and recover from an extreme weather event or other threat.” Others use terms/phrases such as “event readiness” (SEPTA), “robustness” (Swedish Transportation Agency), “keeping services on the street” (Nashville MTA), and “preparedness” (Kansas City Area Transit Authority) to describe their resilience-related activity. It is clear from the case studies that transit agencies think about and pursue resilience from two perspectives. The first and most commonly articulated perspective is “operational” resilience. Operational resilience derives from the need and desire to keep services running even under adverse circumstances. This perspective is rooted in a strong customer focus. The second perspective, “infrastructure” resilience, appears rooted in a physical planning and asset management framework. Table 6 identifies the apparent orientation of the resilience activities being undertaken by the agencies interviewed as case studies, however, all the agencies interviewed understand that the two are interrelated and in many ways inseparable. They all appreciate that it is not possible to have operational resilience without infrastructure resilience. Table 6. Primary Resilience Focus of Case Study Agencies Case Study Agency Primary Resilience Focus Operational Infrastructure Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART)  Honolulu Department of Transportation Services (DTS)  Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro)   Maryland Transit Administration (MTA)  Massachusetts Bay Transportation Agency (MBTA)  Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA)  Kansas City Area Transit Authority (KCATA)  Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA)  New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (NORTA/RTA)  New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ TRANSIT)   Idaho’s Valley Regional Transit (VRT)  San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) 

TCRP A-41: Final Research Report 34 Case Study Agency Primary Resilience Focus San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA/Muni)  Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)  Swedish Transportation Agency   Transport for London (TfL)   Utah Transit Agency (UTA)  Threats and Hazards Various past reports and studies have documented a range of weather, climate and natural disaster threats that could potentially impact public transit services in the United States. These include:  Temperature extremes, including both high heat and very cold days  Severe storm events and coastal storms that result in high winds, lightening, heavy rain, inundation from urban/street, riverine and flash flooding, as well as storm surge and wave action  Sea level rise  Winter storms  Earthquakes  Wildfires  Droughts and dust storms. However, water––in its many forms: riverine/urban street flooding, coastal storm surge, and sea level rise––appears to be the number one hazard of concern among case study agencies. Secondary concerns included various types of extreme weather events and extreme temperatures. In addition, the west coast agencies interviewed (SFMTA/Muni and BART) acknowledged earthquakes as an important threat. In fact, past earthquake experiences prompted both agencies to initiate seismic resilience programs. Interestingly, despite the apparent opportunity to learn from two decades of experience related to building new and retrofitting existing infrastructure to be resilient to earthquakes, both agencies viewed resilience to seismic events as somewhat distinct from current resilience efforts, which are focused on climate change adaptation. “Pathways” to Resilience The resilience of transit system infrastructure and operations in the face of more frequent extreme weather and a changing climate is emerging as a critical imperative for many public transit operators worldwide. Adoption of resilience measures may be borne of necessity after disaster strikes or may result from forward-thinking planning that leads to strategic preparedness and adaptation. An important goal of this research study is to hasten the mainstreaming of resilience policies and practice by transit agencies in the United States. The range of case studies selected for this project reflects a variety of transit system characteristics, agency structures, threat/hazard profiles, areas of implementation and geography. What is clear from the case study investigation is that many “drivers” of resilience adoption exist within the transit industry. Moreover, in many cases, agency efforts are motivated by a combination of reasons. Four key “pathways” to resilience emerged from the case studies: 1. Past disaster experience 2. Leadership and organizational culture

TCRP A-41: Final Research Report 35 3. Sustainability and environmental programs 4. Asset management and state of good repair Past Disaster Experience Given the increasing frequency of natural disasters and extreme weather events in the U.S., one key driver of resilience thinking and adoption among transit agencies is adversity. More than half the case study agencies reported past experience with natural disasters and/or extreme weather events as a primary motivating factor in seeking to make their operations and/or infrastructure more resilient. For example, in 2015, the Boston, Massachusetts metro region experienced its snowiest winter in recorded history. More than 100 inches of snow fell and below freezing temperatures lasted for longer than 30 days. The extreme winter weather caused service disruptions that stretched over a 60-day period. In response, MBTA developed and is implementing a multi-faceted Winter Resilience Plan that includes infrastructure upgrades, new equipment purchases and maintenance protocols, as well as changes to a range of operational procedures. Nashville MTA experienced severe flooding in 2010 that resulted in extensive damage to its primary bus storage facility, administrative offices and maintenance facility. MTA lost almost one third of its bus fleet and was unable to provide any services for two weeks. The flooding triggered greater awareness of preparedness and steps were taken to make MTA’s services and facilities more resilient. For example, the agencies signed an MOU with the Nashville water services department to use a parking lot at their facility, which is located outside of flood prone areas, for bus storage when flooding is anticipated. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina resulted in flooding that covered 80 percent of New Orleans, Louisiana and decimated public transportation infrastructure in the Gulf Coast region. Eighty-five percent of NORTA/RTA’s fleet was destroyed or rendered inoperable. Public transit services in New Orleans were shut down for more than a month. As part of rebuilding efforts, support utilities such as generators and substations have been elevated above flood levels and remote “safe houses” located outside of flood prone areas have been identified for moveable equipment. The disaster also resulted in wholesale changes to the agency’s emergency preparedness planning and procedures. The agency now has mobile command and communication capabilities that allow it to manage emergency evacuation operations, system shut down and service recovery from virtually any location, and RTA is now a key player in New Orleans’ City-assisted Evacuation Plan. Over the last 15 years, NJ TRANSIT has been impacted by a succession of emergency events and disasters, including: the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, the 2003 Northeast blackout, Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 and most recently, Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The devastating impacts of back-to- back coastal storms in 2011 and 2012 brought into sharp focus many of NJ TRANSIT’s infrastructure and operational vulnerabilities. Transit system resilience has become a central component of the agency’s Hurricane Sandy rebuilding efforts and, more importantly, it has become a planning and operations philosophy that spans modes and agency departments. The Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 and the Northridge earthquake in 1994 prompted many changes in structural design standards and building codes in California. In response, both SFMTA/Muni and BART initiated seismic resilience programs. Over the past 20 years, these programs have involved the construction of new and retrofitting of existing infrastructure, using designs and materials resilient to seismic events. More recently, state environmental mandates have set in motion current resilience efforts that are focused on climate change vulnerability and adaptation and, in particular, sea level rise. SEPTA’s recent experiences with flooding, extended periods of high heat and winter storms resulted in disruption and suspension of service, stranded customers, downed catenary wires, damaged rail bridges

TCRP A-41: Final Research Report 36 and track beds, and buckled sections of rail. These impacts prompted SEPTA to participate in FTA’s Climate Adaptation Pilot initiative and to look for cost-effective ways to harden their infrastructure and make its services more resilient. Examples include: stabilizing rail embankments and slopes, elevating and flood proofing vulnerable infrastructure and equipment, putting in place redundant power supplies, and developing new procedures for implementing temporary substitute services. Finally, Transport for London’s focus on resilience also grew out of necessity. Several transit system bombing incidents, past flooding experiences that inundated rail tunnels and underground stations, and extended periods of high heat that shut down services all highlighted the need for greater operational and infrastructure resilience. In addition, the need to ensure public transit systems were safe and efficient during the 2012 Summer Olympics contributed to the agency’s ongoing, constant state of preparedness in terms of being ready to deal with operational disturbances. Leadership and Organizational Culture Another potential pathway to resilience involves leadership and organizational culture. While many case study interviewees mentioned the importance of leadership in driving resilience adoption, several stand out as examples. In addition, the case studies made clear that leadership can come in a variety of forms and at a range of levels, including executive, mid-level and even from front-line workers. In Hillsborough County, FL, HART is at the beginning stages of resilience planning and adoption but they have the advantage of executive level support and leadership. In particular, the agency’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO), who was inspired by SEPTA’s resilience efforts, is leading the charge. As an executive, the CFO can reach out cross-functionally to bring to bear the resources needed to get things done. At Nashville MTA, with encouragement from the newly-elected Mayor, MTA’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO) are committed to expanding transit service and “preparedness.” In Massachusetts, after the 2015 winter season, the Governor and Legislature passed legislation requiring reforms be implemented at MBTA and that the agency develop and implement a Winter Resilience Plan. At MARTA in Atlanta and SFMTA/Muni, executive leadership have cultivated a “culture of collaboration and forward-thinking” that has provided a foundation for resilience adoption. At LA Metro, leadership and successes at the middle-level of management have, over the course of several years, cultivated buy-in from senior management and support from the agency’s board of directors. Even front-line workers can lead the way. At Swedish Transportation Agency, maintenance crews, who increasingly found themselves engaged in larger and more frequently occurring restoration, repair and reconstruction projects were the first to recognize the direct effect that changes in climate and weather were having on the mission and business of the agency’s operations. Sustainability and Environmental Programs Agencies that have a demonstrated commitment to sustainability and environmental programs seem particularly well-suited to advancing resilience adoption. In fact, at these agencies, resilience planning and adoption appears to be a natural outgrowth or progression of sustainability and environmental stewardship initiatives, especially with regard to adapting infrastructure to a changing climate. KCATA (MTA) is participating in a city-wide sustainability initiative focused on expanding the use of green infrastructure to both reduce Green House Gas emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change. The agency’s involvement in this initiative has led it to think through how sustainability improvements can have benefits in terms of operational resilience. For example, MTA’s sustainability projects have included diversifying the power needs of its bus fleet and installing solar power installations

TCRP A-41: Final Research Report 37 that reduce dependence on power generated or supplied by outside sources. It has also begun to install green infrastructure best management practices to manage storm water and mitigate localized flooding near its parking lots, bus stops and bus fleet storage facilities. This will, in turn, help MTA maintain its services during extreme precipitation events. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) promotes more sustainable management approaches by encouraging transit agencies to adopt Environmental Management Systems (EMS). EMS programs provide a centralized structure for managing environmental protection efforts, improving organizational efficiency and rule compliance by consolidating system-wide environmental programs. Several case study agencies have active EMS programs, including LA Metro, SEPTA and HART. LA Metro began developing its EMS in 2008 and, since that time, has been an industry leader in using the EMS as an organizational framework for incorporating sustainability and, more recently, resilience considerations in agency decision-making. The agency is at the forefront of incorporating resilience- related data and metrics into its EMS. HART is also using a focus on sustainability and their EMS as an organizing framework for advancing resilience efforts. Asset Management and State of Good Repair For other agencies, resilience is a natural extension of asset management and their efforts to ensure transit assets and infrastructure are brought up to and remain in a state of good repair. MARTA is a leading example of how transit agencies can use asset management systems and programs to promote resilience. As an FTA Asset Management Pilot site and a participant in FTA’s Climate Change Adaptation Pilot initiative, MARTA has been able to leverage and coordinate its efforts on both fronts to integrate capital planning, asset management and resilience using add-on modules to its Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system. Moreover, MARTA has found that incremental approaches for broad initiatives such as sustainability and resilience are more successful than creating and deploying new standalone systems. As a result, they use a “fold-in” approach to resilience that utilizes risk management concepts and a new “Capital” tab, which has been added to its EAM. The new tab allows asset managers to capture data related to sustainability, climate resilience, and other environmental factors that can affect the life cycle of various assets and infrastructure. To facilitate resilience-related data collection, MARTA incorporates weather-impact tracking measures into its operations and maintenance worksheets and procedures. In addition to MARTA’s efforts, several case study agencies are just beginning to develop asset management systems but have already begun to build aspects of operational and infrastructure resilience into their emerging systems. For example, Maryland Transit Administration, while still in the early stages of developing an asset management system to monitor state of good repair, is incorporating a climate/weather risk data and assessment as part of their system; and VRT, in Idaho, is just beginning to incorporate the concept of operational resilience into agency decisions about managing its fleet to ensure service readiness and sustainability. The Importance of Partnerships and Collaboration Another theme that emerged from the case studies is that the pursuit of resilience among transit agencies is not a solo endeavor. Partnership and collaboration are important. Key partners include: MPOs and other regional planning partners; state DOTs and other state agencies; local governments; public utilities; universities; private infrastructure operators, such as CSX and Norfolk Southern railroads; as well as various federal agencies, such as FTA, FEMA, and Department of Homeland Security.

TCRP A-41: Final Research Report 38 In fact, because most transit systems rely on infrastructure systems outside their jurisdiction, a number of agencies have grown to appreciate (or are beginning to) the limitations on what they, as transit properties, can do without engagement with outside stakeholders/entities. There are interdependencies between systems––power, roads, and other shared rights-of-way––that make collaboration essential. In addition, some resilience approaches, such as the construction of seawalls and levee systems, are regional in nature and demand a multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional approach. For example, HART, faced with frequent service disruptions caused by localized street flooding, is working with local governments and Hillsborough County officials to improve stormwater management practices along frequently flooded routes. The agency is also working with the Hillsborough MPO and the University of South Florida to apply the MPO’s climate adaptation cost-benefit analysis results to its transit system infrastructure and assets. KCATA understands that in order to provide its services, the agency must rely on roadway infrastructure outside its control. Given this interdependence, the agency coordinates with the Mid- America Regional Council (MARC), which serves as the MPO for the Kansas City region. MARC plays an important intermediary role in helping to coordinate KCATA system planning across its seven-county service region. In addition, as mentioned previously, KCATA is working closely with the City of Kansas City, which recently launched a number of green infrastructure initiatives and adopted environmental planning standards, to implement green infrastructure projects that will improve the resilience of KCATA operations in the city. Recognizing that its rapid transit system relies on electricity provided by Georgia Power and that its rail services operate along a right of way largely shared with Norfolk Southern and CSX, MARTA considers all three entities “major clients/partners” in helping to ensure the resilience of its rail operations. MARTA understands that Georgia Power, in particular, represents a potential “single point of failure” and considers the cooperation of all three entities essential to responding effectively in the face of adverse events. NJ TRANSIT, through its Resilience Program and NJ TRANSIT Police, Office of Emergency Management, regularly cooperates with a range of federal, state and local agencies. These include: United States Department of Energy and Sandia National Laboratory on the NJ TRANSITGRID project; the Federal Transit Administration; Federal Emergency Management Administration; the New Jersey Governor’s Office; New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness; New Jersey State Police and the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management; other state agencies, as needed, and various county and municipal public safety officials, including local offices of emergency management. These relationship ensure a high level of coordination and cooperation with state and local jurisdictions when NJ TRANSIT services in response to adverse events and when transit services are disrupted. In addition, NJ TRANSIT is working in partnership with NOAA and Stevens Institute of Technology to develop a “Coastal Storm Surge Emergency Warning System,” which will utilize real-time data on tide levels to more accurately predict potential storm surge levels at several critical facilities. Finally, in the San Francisco Bay area, BART worked closely with the Association of Bay Area Governments Resilience Program, the California Emergency Management Agency, FEMA and other stakeholders to develop a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP) specifically covering BART’s service district. SFMATA/Muni is working in collaboration with other city departments and range of local stakeholders to develop a climate adaptation plan for public transit infrastructure in the city.

TCRP A-41: Final Research Report 39 Examples of Effective Practices The case studies make clear that resilience adoption need not be one size fits all. Agencies working to become more resilient may take a holistic, more comprehensive approach that reaches across departments and modes, while others may be more tactical in the face of competing demands and priorities. The case studies also made clear that both approaches take time and that developing a culture of resilience does not and will not happen overnight. Even when an agency is devastated by a natural disaster, as was the case with NORTA and NJ TRANSIT, it can take years to embed resilience thinking within agency decision- making processes. The following are some examples of effective practices drawn from the case studies.  HART utilizes a tactical approach to “jump start” its resilience efforts through its sustainability programs, procurement and contract management activities. The agency also engages front-line maintenance and operations staff (drivers) to track flood prone areas and use the data to inform rerouting decisions in real-time to respond to urban street flooding. HART has also implemented record-keeping procedures to track expense categories as “weather-related” on a regular basis, not just during declared emergencies.  Honolulu DTS has adopted resilient materials requirements and have implemented a proactive program to raise vulnerable equipment and infrastructure above flood elevation.  KCATA is using green infrastructure strategies to manage stormwater runoff and mitigate flooding that impacts its facilities.  LA Metro effectively utilized external funds, including a series of FTA grant programs to jump start its resilience efforts and has successfully integrated resilience considerations as part of the agency’s Environmental Management System. LA Metro has developed a Resilience Indicator Framework to guide future decisions.  Maryland Transit Administration engages front-line operations and maintenance personnel in a series of “Risk Rating” workshops to highlight and flag conditions that could negatively impact operational resilience. Past topics included concerns relating to erosion, rock slides, and riverine flooding. Future topics are expected to include heavy snow, high heat days and the potential for rail buckling. The information and data collected as part of the workshops is used to inform operating decisions.  MARTA has developed an Enterprise Asset Management system “add-on” Capital Tab that incorporates climate change resilience, sustainability and environmental factors and data that can inform capital planning decisions. The agency also uses front-line workers to report conditions and inform operating decisions such as rerouting when flooding begins to occur.  MBTA has developed and is implementing a multi-faceted Winter Resilience Plan that includes infrastructure upgrades, equipment purchases, and changes to operating procedures.  NJ TRANSIT is developing a first-of-its-kind micro-power grid as an independent source of electricity that can power its core facilities and rail service in the event of a regional power failure. The agency also maintains a publically accessible resilience website that provides descriptions and status updates for all ongoing resilience projects. The agency’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan and annexes are also available on the public website.  NORTA/MTA plays a central role in New Orleans City-Assisted Evacuation Plan which is designed to ensure the safe and efficient evacuation of critical transportation needs for populations residing in the City.  San Francisco BART developed a FEMA-compliant Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP) for its service district. The goal of the plan is to “maintain and enhance a disaster-resilient District by reducing the potential for loss of life, property damage, and environmental degradation from natural disasters, while supporting economic recovery from such disasters.” The plan identifies 32 resilience actions ranging from high priority strategies, such as developing redundant command and control

TCRP A-41: Final Research Report 40 capabilities and backup power, waterproofing the Transbay Tube and training for front-line workers regarding safe evacuation protocols and safety procedures, to lower priority strategies such as conducting a watershed analysis of runoff and drainage systems to predict areas of insufficient capacity in the storm drain and natural creek system.  SFMTA/Muni is developing a comprehensive Climate Adaptation Strategy that includes guidance, procedures and checklists for incorporating sea level rise into its capital planning process.  SEPTA regularly engages front-line workers to collect data on vulnerable infrastructure and to monitor service performance. The agency is also working to develop advanced flood warning solutions and uses its asset management system to flag preventive maintenance needs/requirements that could impact operational resilience.  Transport for London utilizes a 120-year design life for new rail infrastructure that accounts for climate change and sea level rise. The agency has also developed and implemented an extreme weather and climate risk “mapping” process for each of its modes. The “maps” are actually an easy to understand set of matrices that compare the likelihood and severity of impact of various climate and weather threats.

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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 resilienttransit.org 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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