Ensure essential functions

Innovating multi-modal tools to assess transportation risks at city, regional, national & international levels

Picture of global map and transportation evaluation

Sandia has extensive experience helping cities create redundant and resilient transportation systems to ensure operation of essential response functions during a disruptive event as well as long term transportaion planning. This  allows for evacuation, access to hospitals, emergency responder transport, and critical infrastructure restoration.

Sandia can also help cities identify parts of a transportation system that are vulnerable to damage, congestion, and inefficiencies during an emergency.

Transportation is essential during emergencies and disruptive events to:

  • keep people safe
  • provide methods of evacuation and delivery of rescue supplies
  • allow access to hospitals and emergency responders, and
  • ensure rapid recovery.

As a city's population grows, transportation growth and resilience plans are needed to ensure long-term economic sustainability.

To understand the current risks and resilience of its transportation infrastructure, a city must consider all aspects of the system (e.g., roads, highways, bridges, rail systems, buses, water ports, and airports). City transportation analyses also need to take into account factors like intersections like round-a-bouts, traffic control systems, emergency communication methods (digital road signs and radio), and access to transportation fuels.

Cities' traffic and transportation systems are extremely complex networks. Analyzing congestion, efficiency, and resilience across these systems adds to this complexity. For instance, adding a subway stop near a busy intersection may increase the prevalence of traffic jams due to vehicles picking up and dropping off passengers.

City transportation systems also have significant interdependencies with neighboring cities, regions, and sometimes countries. Prioritizing across all modes of transportation in a city can be quite difficult for local leaders, particularly during an extreme event, unless the proper analysis and planning tools are in place.

City transportation authorities have a number of opportunities to reduce transportation congestion and improve resilience, efficiency, and sustainability over time. Some of these opportunities include:

Ensure effective and efficient evacuation: An important part of a transportation resilience plan is ensuring that evacuations can occur quickly and efficiently before, during, and after an event. Evacuation procedures may deviate from normal traffic flows so cities may need plans for flexible use of lanes on roads and highways, control over traffic lights and digital road signs, and the use of mass transportation. Plans to evacuate people with mobility limitations are also essential.

Enable robust emergency response plans: Successful emergency response is nearly impossible if roads and highways are not accessible. Emergency response plans often require the delivery of goods by truck and airplane, so cities need resilience plans to ensure that regional road infrastructure and airports are available.

Improve transportation system reliability: System upgrades that increase transportation resilience also benefit day-to-day city transportation reliability. For instance, flexible use of highway lanes can result in lessened impacts from large accidents, and implementing traffic light systems that prioritize emergency traffic can improve response times.

Sandia has worked with several cities, including the U.S. cities of Memphis, Tennessee, and Hoboken, New Jersey, to analyze their transportation infrastructure, determine their current resilience to extreme events, suggest investments that could improve resilience, and help them design systems for long-term urban sustainability. Specific capabilities include:

Network risk analysis and optimization: Sandia's expertise in network analysis and optimization can help cities examine their transportation networks to understand the points in the system that are vulnerable to damage in an emergency and that may be significant sources of future congestion and inefficiency. Sandia can help design improvements that improve the efficiency and resilience of their transportation networks.

Exercise design and implementation: Sandia's expertise in designing and running table-top exercises involving transportation systems can give cities deep insight into how their transportation systems affect their overall response to extreme events. Sandia can also help cities validate their transportation resilience plans with real transportation data.