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Page 80
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8: Future Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Freight Transportation Resilience in Response to Supply Chain Disruptions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25463.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8: Future Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Freight Transportation Resilience in Response to Supply Chain Disruptions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25463.
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Page 82
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8: Future Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Freight Transportation Resilience in Response to Supply Chain Disruptions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25463.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8: Future Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Freight Transportation Resilience in Response to Supply Chain Disruptions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25463.
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80 CHAPTER 8: FUTURE RESEARCH During this research, several needed research topics were identified by those interviewed or by the research team. This include the following: 1. Detour/Alternate Route Assessments: A resilient transportation system must be able to recover efficiently from disasters; maintain network connectivity and reliable travel times; and provide an interconnected, multimodal network for freight carriers, suppliers and customers. Local system resiliency planning for disruptions that affect the local area and can be mitigated by providing detours or other alternate routes for freight transportation. Transportation officials can enhance detour capabilities by pre-planning detour routes and by obtaining dynamic message signs to help with local detours. Traffic management systems developed to manage day-to-day traffic operations can be useful during supply chain disruptions for guiding traffic at the local level. Cities and MPOs should develop local transportation system resiliency strategies in their long- range plans in order to be better prepared for disruptions to the transportation systems that impact freight supply chains. Such strategies should be informed by network models. This research project would look at the entire spectrum of the identifying detour routes, assessing their capabilities in terms of handling more traffic and identify the types of strategies that could be used to implement these strategies. The product would be a guidebook. 2. Regional System Resiliency Plans: Disruptions that impact the freight transportation and supply networks of an entire region require regional and state-level mitigation strategies to overcome its impacts. Examples include regional detour operations, Class I rail detours, port diversions and multi-state traffic management operations. State transportation control centers can help to mitigate impacts of a regional system disruption such as a bridge collapse, tunnel fire or train derailment. State DOTs should incorporate statewide system resiliency strategies into their long-range plans. This project would examine how to do this methodologically as well as institutionally. 3. Develop Supply Chain Performance Measures: One of the key characteristics of today’s transportation planning process is the use of performance metrics to monitor statewide or regional transportation system performance. These measures, however, focus on only system performance within the jurisdictional boundaries. This project would examine the development of performance measures for use by transportation planners relating to the supply chain but that have meaning to regional and local officials. 4. Emergency Response and Planning: Disruptions that are significant enough to impact the freight transportation and supply networks of the nation, and thus requiring extensive mitigation strategies, involve multiple agencies at several levels of government. Such disruptions may lead to declaring a state of emergency which would trigger the deployment of federal resources to assist with emergency response. Examples include responses to major hurricanes, wild fires, floods and major power outages. State DOTs should partner with neighboring states to develop inter-regional mitigation strategies in response to national disasters that impact multiple regions and states, including megaregions. These actions can be implemented through state long range transportation plans, emergency operations plans, state hazard mitigation plans, continuity of operations plans and state disaster response plans. This project would examine the linkage between the emergency response/emergency management planning and the long-range transportation planning process to identify areas of commonality and where planning can help prepare the transportation system better for potential disruptions.

81 5. Hazard Mitigation Plans: States are required to develop Hazard Mitigation Plans, which identify natural and man-made hazards and develop strategies for mitigating these hazards. This same methodology can be employed to plan for supply chain disruptions for the freight transportation network. State DOT officials should collaborate with State Emergency Management Officials to identify the range of supply chain disruptions and develop strategies for mitigating such disruptions. For example, the public sector can benefit from the experiences of the private sector in assigning supply chain risk managers whose job is to anticipate potential supply chain disruptions in advance when possible and initiate mitigation strategies to minimize impacts on the business operations. Local entities in many states have completed work to prepare for and position their region for natural disruptions, like MPO vulnerability assessments of regional transportation infrastructure. In addition, examples of man-made disruptions include planned disruptions like construction work zones, as well as unplanned disruptions such as hazardous material spills or events, terrorist attacks, international trade barriers, labor strikes, and lack of available workforce. These State Hazard Mitigation Plans can be used as a starting point for evaluating supply chain disruptions caused by natural or man-made disasters. This project would explicitly examine how supply chain considerations and factors (or at least awareness) can be integrated into the Mitigation Plans. 6. New Transportation Agency Roles and Responsibilities for Addressing Resiliency: In light of increasing occurrences of natural and man-made disasters, transportation agencies and organizations may benefit from establishing new roles and responsibilities to enhance organizational responses to supply chain disruptions at the state and local level. For example, supply chain risk management is an important element of maintaining freight system resiliency. Elements of supply chain risk management in the private sector include developing contingency plans for critical operations, managing inventory and identifying systems for which redundant applications can be employed if one system is impacted by a disruption. In order to respond to supply chain disruptions, private companies employ supply chain risk managers to ensure disruptions from disasters do not impact manufacturing, transportation, warehousing and shipments to customers. These personnel are trained to anticipate events that may disrupt supply chains and to act to mitigate disruptions by either moving raw materials or finished products to safe locations or move entire operations. Alternatively, companies also contract with risk managers to monitor supply chain risks such as major weather events, labor disputes, political unrest or intentional acts of violence or terrorism. These same strategies can be employed in the public sector by training DOT employees to anticipate transportation system disruptions and act to mitigate the impacts of such disruptions. New roles and responsibilities may need to be assigned to personnel in order to better respond to disruptive events. This can take the form of moving transportation assets to secure locations in advance of major weather events, pre- positioning dynamic message signs or coordinating traffic management through transportation management systems. This can also include ensuring key supply chains are maintained during emergency response such as transporting water, food, and other emergency supplies needed during disasters. This project would focus on the specific capabilities, knowledge and tools that public agency employees would need to fit this role. 7. Integrate Transportation and Emergency Management Planning: State DOTs serve as “guardians of transportation infrastructure” and help to protect critical infrastructure assets. This includes securing transportation facilities, providing emergency management support to first responders, and helping to maintain business continuity during disasters. During emergencies, State DOTs coordinate with State Emergency Management Agencies. State and local governments need to implement transportation and emergency management plans while coordinating between agencies. For example, MPOs developing long range plans need to include fire and law enforcement officials in the planning process. Similarly, Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) need to coordinate with MPOs while developing Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs) for their communities. Companies are also taking steps to integrate with emergency managers and to understand emergency operations along the supply chain. This type of coordination between transportation and emergency management is often overlooked in the planning process, because Emergency System Functions (ESF) are usually implemented at the operational level and not the planning

82 level. ESF 1: Transportation is an essential function to support many other emergency support functions, including mass care, logistics, communication and public safety. This project would examine the roles of MPOs in emergency management planning. 8. Continue to Promote Freight Fluidity Planning and Data Collection Techniques: A thorough understanding of freight fluidity also helps measure the resiliency of the freight transportation system. Freight fluidity describes how well a supply chain performs in a freight transportation network, measuring supply chain performance across multiple jurisdictions using travel time, travel time reliability and cost. Freight modeling tools can be used to help incorporate freight fluidity elements into a freight resiliency analysis. State and local transportation officials should examine selected supply chains to better understand freight performance and identify freight bottlenecks and congested areas that may require transportation system improvements to enhance freight movement. Since data collection from disparate and often proprietary sources can inhibit freight data collection, collaborating with the private sector to collect data to examine candidate supply chains can bring a greater understanding to freight fluidity planning efforts at the local, regional and national level. 9. Research the Use of State Freight Plan Data to Evaluate Supply Chain Disruptions: State Freight Plans use some type of commodity flow data to evaluate how commodities are transported in and out of the state. Most state use the FHWA FAF data from the National Commodity Flow Survey conducted every five years to develop commodity flows. Some states have purchased TRANSEARCH or other commodity flow data source to evaluate commodity flows. By examining FAF data for selected supply chains, it is possible to predict which transportation modes may be needed if a disruption impacts another mode. For example, a flood event or lock closure on the Mississippi River impacting grain shipments may require a mode shift from barge to rail, as illustrated in Appendix A, Corridor 5: Inland Waterway/Locks Scenario. State DOTs can examine State Freight Plans and identify candidate supply chains for future research. This project would provide a methodology for doing so. 10. Incorporate Resiliency into State Freight Plans: The Fix Americas Surface Transportation (FAST) Act requires State DOTs to consider resiliency as part of State Freight Plans. State DOTs already provide transportation emergency support functions during emergency events, emergency management and security protocols. However, this role continues to expand as states are experiencing more and more disruptive events each year. This has occurred in response to ongoing natural disasters requiring highway detours, evacuation routing and road closures as a result of hurricanes, tornados and other major weather events. State DOTs need to consider how to design more resilient transportation systems and infrastructure to prepare for the growing number of disruptive events. This project would examine how resiliency could be incorporated into State Freight Plans. 11. Develop Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity Assessments: State DOTs should assess the vulnerability of the freight system, based on the defined natural and man-made hazards. This can include conducting vulnerability assessments on freight infrastructure and on key supply chains as part of the State Hazard Mitigation Plan. A key part of the vulnerability assessment can consist of a determination of adaptive capacity – or how well the system or a supply chain responds to or recovers from a disaster or unplanned event. For example, if key freight elements are impacted by flooding or storm surge along the Gulf Coast, GIS data can be used to evaluate areas of impact, alternate routes, ability to prepare and recover from such an event. GIS- based analysis may include key factors like storm surge, sea level rise, wild fires, and tracking weather events. Where possible, data from local and state initiatives can be used, particularly for extreme weather analyses. Other examples might include an industry’s vulnerability to inadequate workforce, changes in international trade (e.g., tariffs, border delays), and travel time reliability. This study would illustrate the methodology for conducting such an assessment.

83 12. Support for Military Deployments: Using a wide range of the latest cargo handling and communications technologies, the US DOD has developed detailed procedures and protocols for moving men and their supporting equipment and supplies to designated deployment seaports. This includes extensive coordination with, and asset management support from, the nation’s civil governments and commercial sectors, including local, regional, state and federal government agencies involved in both land-based and seaport operations. The incorporation of lessons learned by these agencies from past deployments have provided important pointers for successful future activities and are captured within a variety of reports. This includes the need to pay attention to potential traffic bottlenecks where the interaction of military and civilian traffic could cause costly delays to cargo deliveries, notably at DOD designated seaports during high volume cargo handling seasons. As the nation’s cargo volumes continue to increase, and as new freight handling technologies come on line, future deployments can benefit from continued research into several areas, including:  Intra-and Inter-Agency Communications:  use of the latest communications technologies to ensure continuous real time in-transit visibility of the condition and location of both cargos and cargo handling assets,  exercising inter-agency communications protocols: to ensure that appropriate priority is given to military convoys and their cargos, including early communication of modified asset needs (e.g. extended seaport gate opening hours),  simulation exercises of potential cyber-based as well as physical attacks on deployment assets and infrastructures, including procedures to provide backups to inter-agency communications during loss of primary communication methods.  Deployment Assets Management:  procedures for handling large and heavy non-containerized military equipment during seaport vessel loadings, typically under heavy security, and with coordination of activities by experienced military cargo handlers.  methods from rapidly identifying and responding to the location and status of possible backup assets (e.g. alternative modes or routes) in case of lost asset capacity.  cargo handling procedures in support of force package integrity: procedures to ensure the availability of enough staging areas, trained personnel, loading equipment, and vessels for moving complete military units through the nation’s strategic seaports (thereby greatly reducing the time a unit must spend in assembly upon arrival within theater).  Performance Assessments:  development of standardized land corridor-based as well as seaport-based performance measures that can be used to identify and quantify operational concerns: including assessments of the potential for, and possible remedies to, worst-case (e.g. heavy “sea-lift surge”) conditions during periods of joint military-commercial cargo operations both within and on the routes leading to and from a designated seaport.

Next: Chapter 9: Conclusion »
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TRB’s National Cooperative Freight Research Program (NCFRP) has released a pre-publication version of Research Report 39: Freight Transportation Resilience in Response to Supply Chain Disruptions. The report provides guidance to public and private stakeholders on mitigating and adapting to logistical disruptions to supply chains resulting from regional, multi-regional, and national adverse events, both unanticipated and anticipated.

The report, which makes a significant contribution to the body of knowledge on freight transportation and system resiliency:

(1) assesses research, practices, and innovative approaches in the United States and other countries related to improving freight transportation resiliency;

(2) explores strategies to build relationships that result in effective communication, coordination, and cooperation among affected parties;

(3) identifies factors affecting resiliency;

(4) analyzes potential mitigation measures;

(5) characterizes spatial and temporal scale considerations such as emergency planning and response timeframes;

(6) prioritizes response activities by cargo types, recipients, and suppliers;

(7) identifies potential barriers and gaps such as political boundaries, authorities, ownership, modal competition and connectivity, and social and environmental constraints; and

(8) examines the dynamics of supply chain responses to system disruptions.

The report also includes a self-assessment tool that allows users to identify the current capability of their organization and institutional collaboration in preparing for and responding to supply chain disruptions.

Disruptions to the supply chain and their aftermath can have serious implications for both public agencies and companies. When significant cargo delays or diversions occur, the issues facing the public sector can be profound.

Agencies must gauge the potential impact of adverse events on their transportation system, economy, community, and the resources necessary for preventive and remedial actions, even though the emergency could be thousands of miles away.

Increasing temporary or short-term cargo-handling capacity may involve a combination of regulatory, informational, and physical infrastructure actions, as well as coordination across jurisdictional boundaries and between transportation providers and their customers.

For companies, concerns can include such issues as ensuring employee safety, supporting local community health, maintaining customer relationships when products and goods are delayed, and ultimately preserving the financial standing of the company.

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