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Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Resilience Primer for Transportation Executives. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26195.
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Suggested Citation:"SUMMARY." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Resilience Primer for Transportation Executives. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26195.
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Page 4

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SUMMARY Everything the chief executive officers of state departments of transportation and everyone else in their agencies do is based in resilience. All of the DOT’s achievements, difficulties, necessities and plans— even reports on ordinary activities—have the promise of resilience in them. That promise is: We are working hard to be sure your transportation needs are met and, if they are interrupted, it won’t be for long. As CEO of a transportation agency, you have the responsibility to plan, deliver, operate and maintain a safe transportation network so essential to the economic wellbeing of your state. Critical corridors of commerce need to be resilient during extreme weather events and other disruptions. Making the network resilient depends on both technical and policy factors, and there are significant roles only you can play. This CEO Primer identifies what you can do and ways you can incorporate resiliency practices into the day-to-day operation of your agency, as well as your long range planning. Potential and real disruptions to a DOT’s service, reliability and safety--from extreme weather, natural disasters, cyber incidents, system failures or combinations of these––are on the rise. Other challenges such as a pandemic may not damage infrastructure, but demonstrate the criticality of the supply chain and the importance of comprehensive workforce protection. Also rising are customers’ expectations for system performance and reliability––and their intolerance for delay. The result is increased public and political demand for DOTs to solve disruption problems before they become critical. Several widely used definitions of resilience share the same idea: resilience means forecasting what could happen, coping with the consequences of a disruptive event, and looking ahead to be readier than before to face future disruptions. The core ideas of resilience—anticipating, adapting, preparing, and then bouncing back from disruption even stronger—apply to every major business function in a transportation agency. DOT CEOs across the United States contributed to this Primer and shared their approaches to becoming a transportation agency that is resilient: pro-active in maintenance and operations and ready to minimize or avoid future disruptions. A culture of resilience grows out of making resilience part of everyone’s job, until it is functionally second nature, just as the idea of safety has become embedded in transportation culture. A resilient agency can deter problems and take action before a disruption becomes disastrous. A resilient transportation system improves safety, saves the state money, the public time, and the agency its respect and reputation. “Get out there in front. Be bold.”

ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE AS CEO TO MAKE YOUR AGENCY MORE RESILIENT • Promote the importance of resilience to your agency, to your governor, to your state. • Be actively engaged in resilience efforts. » Know the most likely disruptions that could happen and what is likely to be impacted so your plans can be future-fit. » Be part of the development of mitigation/adaptation approaches and the preparation of build-back strategies; ensure that cross-cutting teams (e.g., Operations and Maintenance (O&M) with Planning and Development) are involved. » Make resilience part of the agency funding criteria to support planning for future events. » Engage your partners in state and local governments and the private and non-profit sectors, especially in resiliency investment planning, (e.g., strengthening mutually interdependent critical infrastructure systems, such as communications, power, water and roads, bridges and tunnels). • Model the importance of resilience in your words and actions. » Support time spent by staff on resilience and encourage discussions within and across disciplines, regions and agencies. » Incorporate resilience as a high-level performance factor, especially in support of cross- functional collaboration. • Foster preparedness and resilience efforts. » Integrate resilience into planning and programming, building in flexibility for changing conditions and environments. » Leverage asset management life-cycle and risk assessments, to help plan preventive measures, prioritize response and coordinate recovery. » Incorporate resilience into design, engineering, operations and maintenance to reduce vulnerabilities and mitigate consequences of events. » View emergency management and response in a resilience context, learn from events (lessons about design, as well as operations) and highlight your successes to advocate for resources to improve resilience in the future. • Capitalize on the resilience theme in agency communications. Broadly share the work your agency is doing to reduce future disruptions. • See technology through a resilience lens and identify new materials and technologies that can increase resiliency. • Address cybersecurity early and often and recognize that cyber resilience is a continuous process of monitoring and adapting to new vulnerabilities. “Whatever you call it, customers expect this work to be done. They expect us to keep things working.”

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CEOs of departments of transportation (DOTs) face many challenges, including some that will have serious impacts on people's mobility and safety, and possibly on the tenure of CEOs. Many of these challenges revolve around the resilience of the transportation system—how well it can withstand disruptions from natural causes, catastrophic failures of the infrastructure or cyber events, and how quickly the agency can restore services when they are impacted.

The TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program's pre-publication draft of NCHRP Research Report 976: Resilience Primer for Transportation Executives provides a quick grounding in resilience benefits, the CEO’s role in resilience, and approaches taken in various states to increase the resilience of their transportation system. It also offers concepts and tools to lead agencies toward greater resilience.

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