Natural hazards, risk, and the resilience of U.S. transportation infrastructure

Scott Anderson

Natural hazards are one source of risk to transportation infrastructure. Deterioration and the deferral of maintenance present a separate source of risk, though both can be managed. The National Highway Performance Program now in place in the United States requires that states perform risk-based asset management of pavement and bridges and encourages that other asset classes also be included in their plans. Infrastructure assets made of soil and rock can be included in this risk-based management, but these assets are often seen as the hazards themselves. Ideas and experiences on how this can be reconciled and how risks are calculated and communicated are presented. Resilience has always been a desirable attribute of transportation infrastructure and it is being considered more explicitly now, in part because of new legislation and funding, but a standard approach has not yet been identified.

About the speaker

Scott Anderson formerly of U.S. FHWA

Dr Scott A. Anderson was named the Richard H. Jahns Distinguished Lecturer for 2016–2017. This lectureship was jointly established in 1988 by the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG) and the Environmental and Engineering Division of the Geological Society of America (GSA) to increase student awareness about applied geology.

Until recently, Dr Anderson was the Geotechnical Engineering Technical Services Team Manager for the U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). He led a national team of geotechnical engineers that assist state and local transportation agencies through technical assistance, training and deployment of new technologies. Prior to joining FHWA fifteen years ago, he was a Senior Consulting Engineer and the Landslide Technology Leader for a major A/E design firm, and he was previously an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Hawaii. Now he is a Principal Geotechnical Engineer for BGC Engineering Inc. Dr Anderson earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in engineering geology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and Colorado State University, and Master’s and Doctorate degrees in civil engineering from the University of California at Berkeley.

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