Full Session with Abstracts
This paper presents a framework for improved situational awareness in hurricane and severe storm events by posing an integration of a flood alert system with bridge-road performance models. A case study is presented for the White Oak Bayou watershed, Houston, Texas to demonstrate the methodological approach and application. The framework consists of a coupled White Oak Bayou Flood Alert System (WOBFAS) and a new Infrastructure System Performance Model (ISPM) for transportation infrastructure subjected to flood inundation events. The White Oak Bayou Flood Alert System is a conceptual flood modeling and alert system that leverages a library-based system with state of the art flood modeling, radar and Lidar data. The Infrastructure System Performance Model comprises the road network with new flood fragility models of select roads and bridges in the White Oak region. The proposed framework can be used to evaluate, in near real-time, system level performance such as accessibility to key locations and component level performance such as potential impacts on bridges and roadways. To demonstrate the capability of the framework, fluvial flooding due to Hurricane Harvey is simulated using the WOBFAS. Inundation maps and key flow parameters from WOBFAS are then used to inform the Infrastructure System Performance Model to estimate the damages to bridges and roadways. Infrastructure performance is then coupled with inundation maps from WOBFAS to identify locations with limited accessibility for emergency response. The results from the coupled WOBFAS and ISPM are validated using gauge observations and damage data collected during post-Hurricane Harvey reconnaissance surveys conducted by teams from Rice University and Harris County. In the future, this framework can be expanded to estimate subsequent downtime, repair costs, and long-term maintenance costs of flood affected bridges and road networks. Although demonstrated on a single watershed, the methodology developed in this study can be extended to other regions to develop an integrated flood alert system in support of emergency response as well as longer term resilience aims.