Characterizing National Exposures to Infrastructure from Natural Disasters
Jul 12, 2016
Communities, companies, and governments at all levels in the United States are making decisions that will influence where, what and how infrastructure will be built. This report describes insights about exposures from natural hazards now and in the future, as well as gaps in data that, if filled, could improve the nation's ability to assess infrastructure risk and improve infrastructure resilience.
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Communities, companies, and governments at all levels in the United States are making decisions that will influence where, what and how infrastructure will be built. These design and policy decisions shape infrastructure, influence economic development, and influence future exposures to natural hazards for decades.
Population growth and shifts, particularly those on the coasts, drive demand for new infrastructure, and, as a result, increase the exposure of infrastructure to natural hazards. These natural hazard exposures are projected to be larger and more uncertain in the future because of the effects of sea level rise and projected changes in temperature and precipitation patterns. Thus, incorporating natural hazard risk assessment into infrastructure planning is becoming both increasingly important and challenging.
This report summarizes insights we have gained about the exposures to U.S. infrastructure from natural hazards now and in the future. Our analysis identifies regions in the country where infrastructure may be uniquely exposed to a complex set of natural hazards. In those regions, our analysis highlights the types of infrastructure that are exposed and the hazards that put them at risk. Our analysis also reveals where infrastructure exposures may be expected to change most dramatically. Finally, our analysis reveals where infrastructure exposures remain most uncertain and where new data and analysis would be most valuable. Each of these findings can inform federal efforts to improve infrastructure and resilience planning.
Introduction: The Need to Better Understand Current and Future Hazard Exposure
Defining and Analyzing Infrastructure Exposure
Current Patterns of Exposure in the Continental United States
Climate Change and Natural Hazard Exposure
Findings and Policy Considerations
Interactions Between Infrastructure and Hazards
The research described in this report was prepared for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Infrastructure Protection and conducted in the RAND Homeland Security and Defense Center (HSDC), a joint center of two research divisions: RAND Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment and the RAND National Security Research Division.
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