Road Net­works for Ear­t­h­qua­ke Resi­li­ent So­cie­ties


Emergency functionality and rapid recovery of road networks after a worst-case earthquake that has triggered additional hazards such as post-quake fires, landslides, tsunamis and a series of large aftershocks is a vital requirement for the sustainability of any modern society, which, in the light of recent events like the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, has not been properly addressed. Methods to assess and improve this “resilience” will be explored in this project, in collaboration with road network operators in order to ensure their practicality. A key component in defining the required post-disaster functionality and recovery, in its early/immediate post-event stages is the behaviour of agents (residents, emergency personnel etc.) during and after such an event sequence. Therefore, this project will investigate the potential of post-disaster behaviour simulations of agents in assessing the transportation needs after an extreme event and during the time of recovery, and how this may lead to the identification of the most critical components and the definition of their required performance beyond their design limit (robustness). Knowing that these assets could be mainly bridges, due to their generally large operational loss potential, the project investigates innovative structural concepts (like structural control systems) and rapid repair methods (like carbon fibre strips) that may be capable of providing the required robustness and speedy recovery within acceptable economic and time constraints. In addition, resilience based optimization methods will be explored that offer a rational framework for decision-making and resource allocation based on an appropriate selection of improvements also considering topological network changes and traffic management in addition to structural enhancements.


Main Objectives of the project

The overall aim of this project is to provide a rational framework for the assessment and improvement of the resilience of road networks subjected to worst-caseearthquakes that trigger additional hazards. To this end, this project will:

  • Investigate the potential of post-disaster simulation methods based on agents(residents, decision makers, etc.) to identify the required residual functionality of a road network and its critical components, especially bridges.
  • Investigate the potential of advanced structural concepts (especially for bridges), to provide robust behaviour beyond their regular design limit to ensure the required residual functionality.
  • Investigate the potential of innovative repair methods for conventional bridges (in particular elevated roads) to provide timely functional recovery.
  • Provide a rational approach for the most appropriate selection of a combination of improvements (structural, topological and traffic management) using resilience-based optimization.