Integrated Flood and Socio-Environmental Risk Analysis for Prioritizing ABC Activities

Project Information
Link to the Latest: September 2021 Progress Report

The need to accelerated bridge construction (ABC) activities due to flooding (e.g., accelerated bridge upgrade prior to flood events and accelerated bridge repair after flood events) has complex interdependencies with many physical, social, and environmental factors in urban areas. Flood related factors can also contribute to bridge scour, the biggest cause of bridge failure in the United States. Due to the limited available budget for accelerated upgrade/repair processes, a decision support tool is needed to prioritize bridges in terms of the vulnerability of bridge location and risk level of each bridge to support decision makers in project selection. This study aims to develop a GIS-based, multi-criteria, and multi-stakeholder decision analysis framework that can be used as a risk-based decision support tool for prioritizing ABC activities in the presence of limited budgets. The applicability of the framework will be demonstrated for the selection of accelerated bridge upgrade/repair projects in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The proposed decision support tool will be simple enough to be used in real projects, yet systematic and structured to be adjusted and implemented in different geographic locations. Also, it will be capable of group decision making to be used in projects with multiple stakeholders.

The objective of this study is to develop a multi-criterion, multi-stakeholder decision analysis framework in geographic information systems (GIS) environment to assess the vulnerability of urban areas and risk of bridges against flooding and socio-environmental factors. The framework can be used as a decision support tool for selecting accelerated bridge upgrade or accelerated bridge repair projects by decision makers. As a case study, the developed framework will be used for a risk-based prioritization of existing bridges in Miami-Dade County with the purpose of selecting projects for accelerated bridge upgrade or repair.

The following major tasks are considered for completing the study.

Task 1– Literature review

The project includes a literature review to identify existing state of the knowledge and practice about socio-techno-environmental risk analysis approaches for natural hazard problems in urban and coastal areas. Also, another literature review is performed to identify the existing studies on the interdependencies of climate factors, land factors, bridge characteristics, and bridge scour to be leveraged in the study.

Task 2– Data identification and collection

Sources of physical, social, and environmental data with appropriate resolution as well as traffic and bridge data are identified. Data will be collected from national, state, or local databases. FDOT will be contacted for bridge information.

Task 3– Framework development

An effective, MCDA technique that is compatible with the problem in hand and is capable of handling group decision making will be used in GIS environment to develop the decision support framework. The details and interrelationship between the elements in the framework will be determined based on the available data from Task 2.

Task 4– Spatial multi-criteria group decision analyses

The developed framework will be applied to the case study and vulnerability and risk maps will be generated.

Task 5– Reporting

The results and findings of the study will be reported in a manner consistent with existing protocols. Future directions and recommendation for applying the framework to other geographic regions will be provided in the final report.

Research Team:
Principal Investigator: Dr. Ali Ebrahimian
Research Assistant: Nasim Mohamadiazar

Previous Progress Reports: