|Title||Managing critical civil infrastructure systems: Improving resilience to disasters|
The Nation’s capability for maintaining and improving infrastructure systems and assuring continued critical infrastructure systems’ services has received special attention in the United States of America, largely due to recent disasters with significant impacts. A large number of research and policy studies have been conducted to develop methods to improve protection of critical infrastructure. One approach is to reduce the vulnerability of places and infrastructure systems through mitigation strategies that increase system resilience or resistance to the stresses imposed by disasters. Improving resiliency requires a system of systems approach because of its complexity. Critical infrastructure not only responds to the needs of society for the smooth daily continuation of activities, but also provides the basis on which society exists and relies. To address this complex problem a decision support system to develop critical infrastructure resilience strategies is needed. One such decision support system analyzes the problem using system dynamics. The Critical Infrastructure Resilience Decision Support System (CIR-DSS) developed in this research recognizes the impact of disasters including damage and disruption to critical infrastructure and loss of life. CIR-DSS development involves: (a) understanding the operations and management of critical infrastructure, (b) development of a framework to capture these processes, (c) development of the model framework, (d) development of the model, (e) development of the model’s interface, and (f) the communication of the model results including risk and a cost benefit analysis of alternative strategies. A case study is used to test and validate the approach of the CIR-DSS framework. The CIR-DSS development takes advantage of existing software such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Hazards U.S. Multi-Hazard (HAZUS-MH), a tool to assess the impacts of natural hazards, and Structural Thinking, Experiential earning Laboratory with Animation (STELLA), a tool to build Systems Dynamics models. The case study used to test and validate the CIR-DSS approach is based on a real disaster that occurred in Sussex County, Delaware in 2006. The case study demonstrates: (1) the wide range of data and resources required in supporting decision making, (2) how the concepts can be integrated into a decision support systems and (3) the insights gained in using system dynamics to structure this CIR-DSS complex problem.
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