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How to Incorporate Resilience in Your Agency 17Â Â â Incorporate vulnerability in design manual â¢ Florida DOT signs and signals are designed with mast arms along coastal areas instead of strain poles, to be more resilient and withstand hurricane wind loads. The agency is strengthening areas with sea walls and elevating roads where possible to mitigate flooding. The design of its drainage systems is being adjusted along the coastline to allow for more efficient water flow out of flooded areas. The agency is continuing to identify other resilience strategies. â Learn to adapt from events â¢ The Maine DOT, following Superstorm Sandy, increased its design standards for most culverts and some bridge replacements to 500-year storm event levels. As a result, culvert blowouts are becoming a thing of the past, annual costs for culvert clean- ing and main tenance are down, and fish and wildlife habitats and passages have improved as well. Incorporate Resilience into Operations and Maintenance In any agency, O&M staff can be some of the most knowledgeable employees regarding the facilities you oversee. They possess hands-on critical institutional knowledge that can inform proper decision-making on virtually any topic, even those beyond their traditional roles. â¢ Consider preventive and predictive maintenance practices that prepare for potential natural and man-made emergencies as key to keeping operational costs in check and avoiding unforeseen events. The FHWA Climate Change Adaptation Guide for Transportation Systems Management, Operations, and Maintenance (see Appendix D) highlights adjustments to O&M programs ranging from minor to major changes that can help minimize current and future risks. â¢ Enable best practices in O&M of current assets to gain obvious benefits for your agency. â¢ Incorporate O&M input into the design of new assetsâthis overlooked benefit could dramati- cally improve the lifetime and performance of these assets. O&M staff can use their collective institutional knowledge to steer the design and engineering of assets toward a more resilient approach. Prioritizing feedback from these staff members can highlight easy-to-miss problems that should be addressed in the design of assets. â¢ Establish regular coordination between on-the-ground staff and other departments to discuss hot spot areas and inform investment decisions on the basis of past performance. â Incorporate flexibility in agency policies â¢ The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities issued a policy direc- tive on winter maintenance coordination that requires all regions in the agency to assist in the event of an emergency, regardless of location. The Wisconsin DOT effectively dissolves district lines within the organization when responding to major events so that resources can be applied where they are most needed across the state. â Purchase versatile equipment â¢ The Alabama DOT purchased versatile equipment to double as snow plows. It has also established mobile stockpiles of traffic control equipment, factoring in likely future needs. Our state residents would rather maintain than build. We track conditions carefully and replace when we start doing too much maintenance. Lowest cost of ownership drives action.
18 Resilience Primer for Transportation Executives â Use maintenance data to identify vulnerable areas â¢ The Oregon DOT uses maintenance dispatch data and weather-related data to map areas within its system most vulnerable to climate impacts. Maintenance personnel are able to identify locations susceptible to weather or other conditions that need to be monitored more closely over time. â Configure tracking systems to create metrics â¢ Configuring work order/labor-tracking systems to better track the impacts of events over time by creating work order numbers, charge codes, or similar codes tied to specific events or types of events has allowed many DOTs to create a metric or severity index that compare expenditures with the relative severity of the event, which helps identify efficiencies and inform budgets. See Emergency Management and Response in Resilience Context Response and recovery are critical aspects of resilience, because it is not possible to mitigate all risks or prevent all events from happening. Quickly responding to an incident or event and getting operations back to normal as rapidly as possible after an event minimizes disruptions and reduces impacts on the transportation system and the community. Your agency undoubtedly has responded to weather-related events, a serious highway accident, or a breakdown of critical infrastructure. The nation as a whole has had to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing essential services while implementing social distancing, appropriate protections for employees, and regular decontamination of public surfaces. Learning emergency response under fire is an all-too-common experience for CEOs of state DOTs. Some types of events are long in developing and may slowly creep up. The consequences of such events may take timeâsometimes yearsâto become obvious. Others, despite the best efforts of engineering and maintenance, always have potential to occur, such as accidents and structural failure. â¢ Know what is out there and be prepared for when events occur. Understand what types of events are likely to occur in your state and the potential impacts those events can have on your agency. By anticipating events and the potential impacts, you can plan in advance. â¢ Recognize that worker safety and providing a healthy and safe workplace, especially in a pandemic, is critical to maintaining ample human resources. â¢ Examine the efficiencies that make your agency nimble during an emergency and explore what can be done to integrate at least some of them into daily operations. â¢ Recognize how the great work your staff does in emergencies can help build the argument with your public and policy makers for resilience planning and funding. Your understanding and leadership of the political implications of the event can shape guidance for the elected official (typically the governor) to whom you report. Highlight the successes of your staff during these times, in order to advocate for greater resources needed to mitigate against and prepare your agency for any future emergency that might occur. â Participate in multiagency resilience groups â¢ Washington State has a multiagency resilience cabinet with DOT participation that holds regular meetings and tabletops across the state.
How to Incorporate Resilience in Your Agency 19Â Â â Establish coordinated processes and procedures â¢ The Colorado DOT established a flood recovery office to coordinate and oversee recovery and resilience efforts after the 2013 floods. â Incorporate risk into recovery â¢ The Colorado DOT adopted a process for its flood emergency relief program on the basis of risk assessment, to justify resilience and mitigation projects at locations that suffered severe damage from the floods. â Use continuous learning and improvement processes â¢ After Hurricanes Lee and Irene in 2011 and Sandy in 2012, the New York State DOT refined its emergency responses and incorporated lessons learned into many practices, from maintenance management to programming, project selection, and managing assets. The maintenance management system allowed the agency to record damages, issue work orders, and capture costs for later federal emergency reimbursement. See Technology and Materials Through a Resilience Lens Technology can play a critical role in resilience by providing valuable information and increasing capabilities critical to resilience. Improving system infrastructure with the tech- nology your agency has in place or could obtain will require mainstreaming the possibilities into planning and programming with appropriate funding. â¢ Existing technologies, such as FHWAâs Road Weather Information System (RWIS) and commercially available decision support systems, can be leveraged to track trends or examine potential scenarios for operational planning. â¢ Rapidly developing technologies provide digitized data acquisition and structural diagnostics through remote, in situ, or portable monitoring/damage detection sensors and devices. â¢ Emergency apps can be loaded onto phones before disasters to provide tools for your personnel. Both the Red Cross and FEMA offer lists of downloadable emergency apps. â¢ GIS allows the tracking, mapping, analysis, and modeling of geospatial data that can assist and inform in asset management and emergency management. Your team most likely already includes GIS analysts, who may benefit from additional training for resilience. â¢ Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) can help enhance resilience. ITS can be used to develop a system for forecasting the effects of weather on transportation systems, traveler information systems, and support for emergency operations. Working together, your traffic management center and your emergency response team can leverage ITS for resilience in rerouting traffic in preparation for or during events. As a term, âtechnologyâ often conjures electronic and cyber capabilities, but advances in materials technology are an important part of resilience, too. New and more durable materials, such as high-performance concrete, high-performance steel, smart materials for bridges, reflective paint for roads, and paving materials that better address current and future conditions, are becoming available. â Explore innovative techniques and materials â¢ The Virginia DOT uses innovation to build to last longer, for example, in building corrosion-free bridges with new materials. To get buy-in for higher costs up front,
20 Resilience Primer for Transportation Executives the agency shows benefits, such as savings/cost avoidance down the line, consistent with its goals. â Use materials that better address current and future conditions â¢ In the City of Los Angeles, streets covered with reflective paint were 10 to 15Â degrees cooler on average than streets not covered. â Identify means to gather better data at lower cost â¢ The Utah DOT and other states have incorporated drone technology into many different functional areas to provide better information at lower cost within a framework of training and policies to avoid abuse. Applications include topographic surveys, bridge inspectionsâstructures and delaminationsâand landslide assessment. Capitalize on the Resilience Theme in Agency Communications Fundamentally, all communication between DOT CEOs and everyone else in their DOTâs universe is about resilience. Every message about a DOTâs achievements, difficulties, necessities, or plansâeven reports on ordinary activitiesâcan have the baseline message of resilience in it. That baseline is, âWe are working hard to be sure your transportation opportunities wonât be interrupted and, if they are, it wonât be for long.â From that baseline, a CEO can build simple, effective communication strategies and messages for internal and external audiences as a means of building agency resilience. Audiences Resilience is important to every DOT internal and external audience, in different ways. Individuals among the public, businesses, civic and political stakeholders, as well as everyone who works for or with the DOT will have specific âhow does this affect me/us?â questions that have to be answered at different times. All audiences want a CEO to be informative and, ideally, to be reassuring about safety, emergency readiness, and the quality and continuity of service. As you are well aware, addressing the issue of funding and reserves is basic to building resilient infrastructure, redundancy, and system security into agency assets. Honest and continued dialogue with the business community and the general public about funding challenges and prioritizations and their impact on service can provide the support you need in your discussions with the governor and the legislature. Key Messages Resilience is not so much the subject of messages on its own, but rather the essential message thread that can hold the fabric of an organization together, no matter what comes. Therefore, the messages critical to your audiences are ones that reflect their needs and your DOTâs capa- bilities to meet those needs. The messages may take a wide variety of forms, but their content has three basics: â¢ What our transportation system provides, how it functions, and what we do to maintain and improve it. People need reasonable expectations about transportation in general and about resilience in particular. They need to know what they can count on and what to hope for when disruption occurs.
How to Incorporate Resilience in Your Agency 21Â Â â¢ How we are working to reduce disruptions and improve safety. No doubt your agency has communications about emergency readiness, response, and recovery built into overall communications and public outreach. To increase public awareness, add the fourth r to your messagesâresilience. Share the work your agency is doing to reduce future disruptions by addressing your vulnerabilities and improving your approaches to minimize the consequences of future events. â¢ Our commitment to resilience. Once your agency has defined resilience in terms that make sense for your community, craft a message that makes clear your conviction that your DOT will be an increasingly resilient organizationâone that will strengthen community resilience in the process. These three content areas ground almost any message, from the tight and tidy elevator speech to a full keynote address. With remarks and examples for each, you will be ready to tell the resilience story as a meaningful part of any discussion about your agencyâs direction, impact, and legacy. Address Cybersecurity Early and Often Cyber incidents migrate from one industry to another as compromises become easier and the rewards of cybercrime become greater. The likelihood of a significant event in any industry is increasing, along with the cost of cyber incidents. Hacking is not the only cause of cyber incidents. Equipment failures, or even maintenance procedures, can cause unexpected cyber incidents. Structural network failures and human error have the potential to occur more frequently than intentional cyberattacks. The impacts of a cyber failure differ widely in duration and cost. For most agencies, the consequences can be significant. Along with economic and potential safety impacts, damage is done to an agencyâs reputation and credibility, and the resulting political repercussions can be severe. A rich body of cybersecurity guidance and resources has developed over recent years. Resources for transportation are available from TRB, AASHTO, and other transportation Cyber Resilience Cyber resilience is the ability to identify, prevent, detect, and respond to cyber incidents and recover while minimizing service impact, customer harm, reputational damage, and financial loss. Strategies that support resilience include the following: â¢ Plan for incidents and have approaches to isolate attacks, contain the damage done to systems, and be able to recover gracefully and as quickly as possible. â¢ Establish an enterprise-wide strategic approach to cybersecurity to yield the most long-term benefits. â¢ Expand your organizational risk decision-making and mission priorities to include cybersecurity, if it is not already included. â¢ Advocate for cybersecure policies in your agency procurement processes because vendors often play a major role in the implementation and maintenance of your digital systems.
22 Resilience Primer for Transportation Executives organizations. Establishing and sustaining cybersecurity requires a CEOâs activeâand visibleâ support. Best practices include the following: â¢ Maintaining situational awareness of digital threats. Awareness of digital threatsâboth intentional and unintentionalâis important to becoming a resilient agency. â¢ Fostering a cybersecurity culture. An environment in which cybersecurity best practices are a way of life goes a long way toward preventing and mitigating cyber incidents. Awareness and training, along with established security policies and procedures, are important aspects of building a cybersecurity culture. â¢ Recognizing that users are crucial to cybersecurity in preparing, exercising, and implement- ing backup and downtime processes and systems. Complete protection against cyber incidents is not achievable, and incidents will happen. Assume that a cybersecurity incident will happen in your agency and focus on what will be needed to maintain operations while mitigating the consequences. This is cyber resilience. In an ever-changing security landscape, cybersecurity must be a continuous process, with evaluation and monitoring as key components to identify and manage necessary changes to systems and environments. Having technology in place to provide cybersecurity is only one part of an effective approach.
23Â Â Conclusion Many of the challenges you face as a CEO will revolve around the resilience of the trans- portation system. How well your system can withstand events and how quickly your agency can restore services when they are affected determines your regional economy, your state populationâs mobility and safety, and, possibly, your tenure. The public and their political representatives expect you to anticipate these events, have plans and take actions to mitigate the consequences, and be able to respond quickly when necessary. No matter what your stateâs experiences have beenâhistorically few disruptive events or manyâyou are responsible for managing existing infrastructure, improving the reliability and safety of the transportation network, and ensuring the continuation of operations during and after emergencies. Your end users of transportation assets and infrastructure expect you to do whatâs needed to make the systems they count on resilient. The greatest gains in resilience occur when it is woven throughout a transportation agencyâin planning and design, asset management, risk management, O&M, and performance management. As infrastructure agencies, transportation agencies are exceptionally positioned to take resilience actions, even when efforts to build community resilience can be complicated. Many stakeholdersâfederal, state, and local departments and agencies; national and community organizations; and the publicâare involved in regional community resilience work. Goals can differ substantially, and differing interests want to tailor outcomes to their particular needs. Your involvement as the DOT CEO is a major part of securing community commitment to investment in resilience by building important partnerships across regions, sectors, and trans- portation modes. Fortunately, you are not alone. Engage with your peers to share your experiences. Make use of their replicable successes, learn from their disappointments, and discuss your own challenges and ideas. Resilience thrives on conversation and collaboration. C H A P T E R 4
24 The development of a new strategy based on resilience includes a broad range of options to help manage risks and recover from system disruptions. In this new paradigm, resilience . . . offers instead an overarching strategy that includes risk management, protection, and preparedness as complementary strategies to prevent attacks and to identify and ward off additional threats; [and] adaptation, recovery, and other post-disruption strategies to restore normal transportation services. âUnderstanding Transportation Resilience (AASHTO 2017) Definitions of Resilience Defining Resilience The general concept of resilience has existed for decades in transportation. In recent years, numerous weather-related and other natural disasters, high-profile incidents, and system failures have made resilience a critical focus for transportation reliability and safety. Resilience can be defined as âthe ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, or more successfully adapt to adverse eventsâ (Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative, National Research Council, National Academies Press, Washington, DC, 2012). FHWA Order 5520 has a similar definition: âthe ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions.â Through its Standing Committee on Research (SCOR), AASHTO highlighted what this means for transportation agencies: âWhen we speak of resilience in the transportation sense, we mean the ability of the transportation system to recover and regain functionality after a major disruption or disaster.â Some transportation agencies use definitions of resilience described in state law or other state plans or policies. However resilience is defined, for transportation agencies, the word has some fundamental concepts in common. Most include the concept of bouncing backâthe ability to recover or return to a pre-event condition or level of service after an event. Usually, part of resilience is the idea of the ability to absorb shocks, to be able to lessen or mitigate the consequences of an event and respond quickly after the event with the restoration of services. One important concept that is not always included in all definitions is positive adaptability or âevolutionary resilienceâ that emphasizes preemptive action, learning from experience, preparing and âbouncing forward,â and anticipating and adapting to future events. These core ideas of resilienceâanticipating, adapting, preparing, and bouncing back from disruption even stronger than beforeâapply to every aspect of a transportation agency. DOT Definitions of Resilience Some transportation agencies use definitions for resilience described in state law or other state plans or policies. Other agencies may need to define resilience in agency-specific terms, ones that best reflect your organizationâs responsibilities and needs. You may need to lead your agency toward its own useful definitions. For instance, while some DOTs are focused on storm surges and sea level rise, others may be concerned with heat island effects that cause rail buckling and asphalt softening. TableÂ A-1 presents examples of DOT definitions of resilience. A P P E N D I X A
Definitions of Resilience 25Â Â Department of Transportation Definition and Source Delaware DOT Uses concept that outlines resilience practices to help mitigate climate impacts and reduce emissions. (Delaware Executive Order 41) Colorado DOT âThe ability of communities to rebound, positively adapt to or thrive amidst changing conditions or challengesâincluding disasters and climate changeâ and maintain quality of life, healthy growth, durable systems, and conservation of resources for present and future generations.â (Governorâs Resiliency Framework, Colorado Resiliency and Recovery Office, 2015) New York State DOT Resilience is the ability of a system to withstand shocks and stresses while still maintaining its essential functions. . . . The building blocks of resilience include having spare capacity, staying flexible, managing failures, rebounding quickly, and improving continuously, not just when disaster strikes. (NYS 2100 Commission) Oregon DOT âTo achieve rapid recovery, require government continuity, resilient physical infrastructure, and business continuity.â (Oregon Highways Seismic Plus Report, Oregon DOT, 2014) Arizona DOT Developed a Resilience Program to support its mission to provide a safe, efficient, cost-effective transportation system that cannot be compromised by the effects of heat extremes, dust storms, wildfires, flooding, landslides, rockfall incidents, and slope failures and to cope with the ever-growing cost of these threats. Tennessee DOT Uses the terms âflexibleâ and âproactive.â âMaking decisions in a way not always done in normal situations and doing things not how theyâve always been done. . . . Another way to think about resilience is working through and making adjustments.â (Interview) Utah DOT âWe prefer words such as âadaptations.ââ (Interview) Source: Survey of state highway agencies conducted as part of NCHRP Synthesis 20-05, Topic 48-13, âResilience in Transportation Planning, Engineering, Management, Policy, and Administrationâ (2017) and interviews with department of transportation CEOs. Table A-1. Examples of DOT definitions of resilience.
26 Resilience-building is . . . a lever for unlocking greater economic development and business investment, as well as improved social services and more broadly shared prosperity. This is what we call the âresilience dividend.â âJudith Rodin, Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resilient Cities Initiative Economic and Community Benefits of Resilience Transportation systems are a significant national and community asset supporting many trillions of dollars of economic activity in the private sector as well as health, education, safety, and recreation in the public sector, as illustrated in FigureÂ B-1. Certainly, all transportation assets have importance to someone, but some of your agency systems or assets may be of particular importance because of their vital economic role, absence of alternatives, heavy use, or critical function. For example, critical corridors of commerce need to be resilient during extreme weather events and other disruptions, to support recovery as well as commerce. Improving your system resilience benefits the regional and national economy because of this key role in the local and regional community. Resilient communities have the ability to prevent or delay disasters, quickly return people to work, reopen businesses, and restore other essential services needed for a full and timely economic recovery. They cannot bounce back without resilient transportation systems. Recent natural disasters have demonstrated the broad reach of events beyond local and regional impacts. For example, hurricanes such as Harvey and, more recently, Florence not only dramatically affected the neighborhoods and communities in the landfall and widespread rain zones, but also disrupted national supply chains. The Fukushima earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power plant disaster destroyed communities and disrupted international supply chains for manufacturing. The COVID-19 pandemic had a serious impact on transportation services along with the global economy as people sheltered in place and travel became limited to essential needs only. Investment in resilience may become more attractive when investments are framed or designed to reap multiple benefits, including community economic benefits. For instance, the NYS 2100 Commission was established by the governor of New York after Superstorm Sandy to make plans for improving the strength and resilience of New York Stateâs infrastructure. Following disasters, states recognize the wide-ranging impacts that regional events can have. Fixing problems in one state and not in another affects the economies of many states, even those not directly affected. Collaborative agency efforts in some states go beyond the disaster related, such as in Maine, where the DOT works jointly with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to integrate ecological considerations into resilience initiatives (such as larger culverts) to protect the fishing industry so critical to the stateâs economy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, state DOTs supported health agencies. Some posted signs at rest areas about recommended public health practices such as handwashing techniques and social distancing. Some used dynamic message signs to recommend limiting travel and promote Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisories. Some DOTs also offered existing facilities to quickly provide drive-through medical testing locations for the state. A P P E N D I X B
Economic and Community Benefits of Resilience 27Â Â Certainly, efforts to build community resilience can be complicated. Goals can differ greatly between agencies; different communities need to tailor outcomes to their particular needs. To support a wide range of needs, many federal, state, and local departments and agencies are involved. Because transportation systems benefit communities in so many ways, the DOT CEOâs engagement can be a major part of securing a commitment to resilience by hosting constructive dialogues and building important partnerships across regions, sectors, and trans- portation modes. Source: Adapted from TCRP Web-Only Document 70: Improving the Resilience of Transit Systems Threatened by Natural Disasters, Volume 1: A Guide, Figure 3.1, p. 94. Figure B-1. Illustration of how transportation supports the interconnectedness of communities, the economy, and infrastructure. Resilience benefits extend beyond reducing the cost of repairs. Minimizing disruptions enhances public safety and has economic benefits. âNational Infrastructure Advisory Council