Georgia Institute of Technology
Hurricanes Harvey (2017), Katrina (2005), and Sandy (2012) are widely considered the three costliest hurricanes in US history. The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was particularly destructive, with Hurricanes Irma and Maria joining Harvey in contributing to the costliest hurricane season on record. As recovery from these disasters continues—and the possibility of severe weather increases with climate change—research, planning, and design must look to the future to provide resilient and reliable infrastructure.
Resilient infrastructure is not completely shielded from climate change but rather adapted to mitigate against flood impacts and rising temperatures to support rapid recovery after a disaster. Quicker recovery is the key to reliability and the end goal of resilient infrastructure.
In this session speakers considered the interconnectivity of varying types of infrastructure—water, transportation, energy, and telecommunications—and ways to predict disaster impacts as well as potential solutions to upgrade these systems so that they are resilient and reliable. It is imperative that researchers and designers work together with manufacturers and public agencies to develop innovative solutions for implementation in areas susceptible to damage or failure. Incorporating resiliency in the repair and rehabilitation of aging infrastructure is a growing trend across the United States.
The first speaker, Josh Vertalka (Resilient Solutions 21), introduced the idea of infrastructure resiliency and discussed how to effectively communicate data science evidence to untrained audiences, explaining how infrastructure resiliency challenges can be made digestible by using advanced web applications with graphic interfaces to make the data both highly accessible and interactive. Robert Hanson (US Department of Homeland Security) then spoke in more detail about
challenges associated with critical infrastructure resilience, focusing on the importance of understanding interdependencies to strengthen infrastructure resilience and adding the critical cyber security element.1 With increasing connectivity of systems, cyber vulnerabilities are a growing threat to resilient and reliable infrastructure. He also described national protection programs and the interface between research and governmental agencies to achieve infrastructure resilience. Finally, Firas Saleh (Jupiter) talked about climate change and the importance of increasing adaptive capacities of infrastructure in a changing climate. He showed how state-of-the-art modeling techniques can enhance understanding of the impacts of natural and anthropogenic hazards and gradual stressors, for example, sea level rise, on critical infrastructure.
1 Paper not included in this volume.