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A New Generation of Flexible and Adaptable Decision Making Tools for Resilient Infrastructures

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sarah Dunn



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a conference proceedings (inc. abstract) that has been published in its final definitive form by CESUN, 2018.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Infrastructure systems (e.g. water, electricity, transport networks) are the main facilitator of a countries social, economic and environmental wellbeing, by providing access to healthcare, education and communications, to name but a few examples. However, in many worldwide communities these systems are currently being subjected to a multitude of challenges – from a changing climate, to increasing population demands and economic austerity. The individual components of infrastructure systems (e.g. roads, bridges, reservoirs) are constructed to have long asset lives and existing components were therefore not designed to cope with these ever increasing external pressures. As a consequence, the ability of our infrastructure systems to provide at least a baseline level of service after a severe weather event is being compromised. In many cases, particularly in the UK, current solutions to increase the resilience of infrastructure systems are based on an ad hoc procedure. This is mainly due to the current high levels of uncertainty regarding long-term climate projections, meaning that they cannot be reliably used as a basis for changing the design of future assets (e.g. through alteration of design codes), or to inform decisions to permanently alter current assets (e.g. through the construction of permanent flood defences). Within this current “period of flux” we cannot simply do nothing, nor can we base decisions upon such uncertain models, we therefore require alternate more “adaptive” solutions to increase the resilience of our infrastructure. This paper will consider the development of a new generation of analysis and decision making tools, utilising deployable resources (e.g. mobile flood defences, grit storage) to increase the resilience of infrastructure systems when subjected to severe weather events. Using this solution, a baseline level of service to our communities can be ensured, either through the protection of individual assets or the provision of a temporary service, without the need of long-term climate scenarios to inform decisions. To ensure that this solution is effective, the main concern is the location of the deployable resource and also the timescale for deployment. This paper proposes, and tests, a decision making “tool”, which can be used to identify the most suitable location(s) for storing resources, so that they can be deployed, when and where they are needed, with minimised average and maximum travel times.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dunn S, Gonzalez-Otalora S, Jordan J

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Council of Engineering Systems Universities: Global Conference

Year of Conference: 2018

Print publication date: 20/06/2018

Online publication date: 20/06/2018

Acceptance date: 03/01/2018

Date deposited: 04/07/2018

Publisher: CESUN