Transportation / Environment / State of Vermont

Transportation Resiliency Planning in Vermont

Client: Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans)
Vtrans1

New methods and tools for a transportation system that is vulnerable to flood damages throughout the State of Vermont

Fixing the past

The damage to Vermont’s transportation system caused by flooding in 2011 illustrated the magnitude and scale of the system’s vulnerability to fluvial erosion and flooding across the entire state. Working with the State and utilizing new technologies, we developed methods and tools to assess and mitigate flood risks to Vermont’s transportation system. The project team first dealt with responding to damages and then focused on the development of new tools that assess and track where the State's transportation infrastructure vulnerabilities exist. This process now allows the State to plan for future resiliency strategies.

Moving toward the future

We developed a vulnerability screen that illustrated how roads, bridges, and culverts were vulnerable to damages due to inundation, erosion, or deposition. The screen was verified in the field and vetted with stakeholders at VTrans and in the community. The vulnerability screen was found to have an accuracy over 90%, suggesting it is possible to locate likely vulnerable areas using a screening tool. The importance of the transportation asset was determined through network modeling and evaluation of the significance of a location for access to critical facilities and how important the community viewed that stretch of road. Mitigation planning and project prioritization were also utilized to aid in starting the alternative analysis process in order to move towards an appropriate level of design. All of the information generated from the project will be displayed in a web application to provide for quick viewing and planning. This novel screening method will allow VTrans to allocate funds better and ultimately be more prepared for the next flood.