Integrate Socioeconomic Vulnerability for Resilient Transportation Infrastructure Planning

Liming Wang, Portland State University



The objective of this proposal is to develop a new methodology that incorporates community socioeconomic vulnerability in the evaluation of transportation infrastructure vulnerabilities for cities and regions facing multi-hazards such as the Portland metropolitan area. According to the City of Portland’s Hazard Mitigation Action Plan 2016, the City faces a high risk of earthquake hazards and medium risks of landslides, wildfires, and floods. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the vulnerabilities of Portland’s transportation systems to multi-hazards and identify the weakest links in order to strengthen and prepare Portland's transportation system for future disasters.

Previous research and current practice heavily focus on the vulnerability of the transportation infrastructure alone and largely ignore the socioeconomic vulnerability of the communities dependent on the infrastructure. In this research, we will integrate socioeconomic vulnerability indicators into the vulnerability assessment of transportation systems. We will consider both the vulnerabilities of individuals/households (for equality consideration) and community businesses (for economic impact). The research will first review relevant literature, and, based on the literature review, design and test social vulnerability indicators for the purpose of ranking the importance of transportation infrastructure in serving vulnerable populations and businesses. Finally, utilizing data from the Census, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), etc, we will apply our methodology to evaluate the vulnerabilities of transportation infrastructure in the Portland metropolitan area and combine them with the assessment of the physical vulnerability of the transportation infrastructure.

The final products of the research include a project report, data, and working papers on the methodology, as well as a software tool for integration of socioeconomic vulnerability in resilient transportation infrastructure planning. This project contributes to the NITC theme of improving mobility of people and goods to build strong communities by increasing access to opportunities for vulnerable population and business in case of a hazard, as well as developing data, models, and tools for resilience planning.

Project Details

Project Type:
Project Status:
In Progress
End Date:
October 31,2022
UTC Grant Cycle:
NITC 16 Round 4
UTC Funding: