Research Alert

More frequent floods in low-lying coastal areas means more disruptions to rural road networks that are vital lifelines for residents and emergency responders. Scientists in the department of civil engineering at the University of Maryland have created a framework for identifying and prioritizing critical roads in a coastal transportation network so they can be monitored closely for flooding. 

The team tested the framework on Dorchester County, Maryland, where roads are threatened by floods from sea-level rise and storm surges. “We focused on identifying road links that have high flood uncertainty and are within a certain flood boundary that is considered impassable for emergency vehicles,” says co-author Zeinab Jasour. 

Their analysis located the most critical road links impacting accessibility of communities to emergency services, and highlighted road links that are more critical because they serve the most people. The results can also be used to inform emergency responders and decision makers of the accurate flood depth of roads in their local area.

The framework can be applied to other coastal communities in high flood-risk zones.

Jasour will present the study, "Identification of critical roads to monitor for flooding in rural transportation networks" on December 6 at 4:20PM EST.