SPEAKERS & SESSIONS
Meet the Speaker: Thomas Wakeman
Session: Sustainability and Resiliency as Enterprise Objectives
Sustainability and Resiliency as Enterprise Objectives
Thomas Wakeman, Research Professor, Stevens Institute of Technology
Recently the qualities of “sustainability” and “resilience” have become project objectives in the development process for new transportation facilities, particularly waterfront infrastructure. These qualities are also important aspirations for facility rehabilitation and asset management activities. With climate change and the increasing number of extreme weather events, labor disputes, and other disruptions, the value chain’s coastal and inland waterway infrastructure and its daily operation face both sustainability and resilience challenges for maintaining navigational functionality and transport services. Waterway infrastructure and maritime asset owners must ensure that their facilities continue to perform adequately whether subjected to long-term impacts (e.g., flooding vs. drought conditions or extreme temperatures) or high-impact short-term events (e.g., tornadoes or unscheduled lock outages). Changing weather conditions can not only cause catastrophic destruction to facilities, but they also may increase the costs of maintenance and facility rehabilitation overtime.
A major concern for new-built assets is that they must be designed without knowing what design specifications will be adequate to address tomorrow’s hazards. These hazards may cause progressive deterioration of facilities or abrupt failures resulting in service failures and supply chain interruptions. If the facility resides in an area that is vulnerable to intense precipitation, then as rainfall intensity increases over time, preparations will be needed to insure that waterborne transport and surface distribution mobility (i.e., trucks and trains) can be sustained during high water and flooding. On the other hand, if a lock is damaged by a vessel strike, then the resilience of the facility and its operators will be challenged. Today’s rapidly changing business and unstable environmental and business conditions demand new planning and engineering design practices for infrastructure construction and asset management that recognize these risks. Advanced planning for meeting climate change or other hazards to navigation and surface transport services will require identifying mitigation and adaptive measures for countering hazards and system vulnerabilities.
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