Freight Economic Vulnerabilities Due to Flooding Events

Quarterly Reports Other Documents Final Report
Final Report

Primary Investigators

Mark Abkowitz
Vanderbilt University
400 24th Avenue, South
Nashville, TN 37235


Flooding events can upset freight transportation infrastructure and operations as damage to or loss of the infrastructure itself and as indirect impacts caused by delivery delays associated with rerouting around affected areas or the inability to deliver to locations that have been cut off from the network. This research develops a methodology that characterizes economic damage and loss associated with infrastructure and freight mobility. takes these considerations into account, and then demonstrates how the revised methodology can be used to determine the economic loss to the truck, rail and barge industry from specific flooding scenarios, as well as to identify those portions of the network most at economic risk due to their flooding vulnerability and their strategic importance in meeting local, regional and national freight transport needs.


The objective of this research is to further develop the relationship between flooding events and consequential effects on freight transportation infrastructure and operations involving highway, rail and barge transport. More specifically, it will estimate the direct and indirect economic impacts of various flooding scenarios on truck, rail and barge transportation by developing economic loss/damage functions based on the extent and level of flood inundation.


  1. Develop freight transport economic risk data
  2. Define and evaluate future flood scenarios
  3. Identify vulnerable freight transportation infrastructure warranting adaptation consideration
  4. Prepare and disseminate findings and recommendations

Project Information

  • Duration: 12 months
  • Dates: 7/1/2014 – 6/30/2015
  • Budget: $105,000 (UTC funds) and $105,000 (match funds)
  • Student Involvement: Two graduate students
  • Modal Orientation: Highway/Rail/Maritime
  • Project ID: CFIRE 09-19
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