Response to Increased Flooding


The state DOT is faced with more frequent flooding events. Environmental emergencies like flooding pose a threat to the public, DOT staff and transportation infrastructure and may result in detours, congestion and closures. They have economic impacts and are difficult to address programmatically because they occur without much warning, although some locations are starting to experience recurring flooding events. In addition, they require coordination among multiple organizations and agencies.

Change Forces

Shift in Role and Focus. The changing DOT role creates a shared responsibility for emergency response with multiple other entities playing a first responder role, and the DOT involved as a part of the emergency response team before, during and after emergencies occur. This requires integrated flood warning and response systems among response partners.
Public Expectations. The public generally has little understanding of steps needed to prepare for an emergency, but an expectation for a seamless public infrastructure. They need to get event warnings for transportation and non-transportation issues via a coordinated and multi-faceted approach that includes sensors, media alerts, websites, and closure of at-risk or compromised facilities.
Technology Advancement. Technology for flood monitoring has been implemented to provide advanced warning capabilities, extending the amount of time for mounting a response effort.

What Capabilities Are Needed?

Transparency. The agency needs to communicate with the public and other stakeholders to provide warnings, directives and to coordinate on response efforts.
Agility and Resilience. An organizational capability for agility and resilience is needed to adjust for emerging issues before, during and after the event and for adjusting construction approaches to improve future resilience.
Technology Adoption. The agency can use Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for flood assessment, and implement information systems and tools for predictive modeling, risk assessment, integration with inventories of critical assets, facilitation of active flood response, and support for post-disaster recovery and reimbursement activities.
Partnerships. In times of emergency, the public relies on multi-agency teams to restore their access to infrastructure networks for communications and transportation. Emergency response depends on coordination among federal agencies (for flooding, this includes the National Weather Service, US Geological Survey, the Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA and FEMA), climate and research organizations and other public sector stakeholders (such as the State Emergency Management Offices, local units of government, law enforcement agencies and the State DOT).

What can you do about it?

Organizational Management
  • Strategic Planning – to establish clear and comprehensive direction among multiple response agencies for oversight, operational support and funding mechanisms
  • Change Management – to coordinate, resource and sequence the implementation of the emergency response
  • Process Improvement – to improve processes and methods and create improved infrastructure resilience in anticipation of future events
Knowledge Management
  • Knowledge Capture and Transfer – to improve communication among response agencies and with the public
Information and Data Management
  • IT and Data Governance – to establish roles and responsibilities, structures and processes for IT integration and support for emergency response among multiple agencies
  • IT Systems – to support incident operations and management activities
  • Interagency agreements – to coordinate and collaborate across jurisdictions and organizations and to document responsibilities and acceptable levels of effort

What resources will help?