Indirect impact of landslide hazards on transportation infrastructure
2018-04-30T15:02:29Z (GMT) by
This thesis examines the indirect impact of natural hazards on infrastructure networks. It addresses several key themes and issues for hazard assessment, network modelling and risk assessment using the case study of landslides impacting the national road network in Scotland, United Kingdom. The research follows four distinct stages. First, a landslide susceptibility model is developed using a database of landslide occurrences, spatial data sets and logistic regression. The model outputs indicate the terrain characteristics that are associated with increased landslide potential, including critical slope angles and south westerly aspects associated with increased rates of solar irradiance and precipitation. The results identify the hillslopes and road segments that are most prone to disruption by landslides and these indicate that 40 % (1,700 / 4,300 km) of Scotland s motorways and arterial roads (i.e. strategic road network) are susceptible to landslides and this is above previous assessments. Second, a novel user-equilibrium traffic model is developed using UK Census origin-destination tables. The traffic model calculates the additional travel time and cost (i.e. indirect impacts) caused by network disruptions due to landslide events. The model is applied to calculate the impact of historic scenarios and for sets of plausible landslide events generated using the landslide susceptibility model. Impact assessments for historic scenarios are 29 to 83 % greater than previous, including £1.2 million of indirect impacts over 15 days of disruption at the A83 Rest and Be Thankful landslide October 2007. The model results indicate that the average impact of landslides is £64 k per day of disruption, and up to £130 k per day on the most critical road segments in Scotland. In addition to identifying critical road segments with both high impact and high susceptibility to landslides, the study indicates that the impact of landslides is concentrated away from urban centres to the central and north-west regions of Scotland that are heavily reliant on road and haulage-based industries such as seasonal tourism, agriculture and craft distilling. The third research element is the development of landslide initiation thresholds using weather radar data. The thresholds classify the rainfall conditions that are most commonly associated with landslide occurrence in Scotland, improving knowledge of the physical initiation processes and their likelihood. The thresholds are developed using a novel optimal-point threshold selection technique, high resolution radar and new rain variables that provide spatio-temporally normalised thresholds. The thresholds highlight the role of the 12-day antecedent hydrological condition of soils as a precursory factor in controlling the rain conditions that trigger landslides. The new results also support the observation that landslides occur more frequently in the UK during the early autumn and winter seasons when sequences or clustering of multiple cyclonic-storm systems is common in periods lasting 5 to 15 days. Fourth, the three previous elements are combined to evaluate the landslide hazard of the strategic road segments and a prototype risk assessment model is produced - a catastrophe model. The catastrophe model calculates the annual average loss and aggregated exceedance probability of losses due to the indirect impact of landslides in Scotland. Beyond application to cost-benefit analyses for landslide mitigation efforts, the catastrophe model framework is applicable to the study of other natural hazards (e.g. flooding), combinations of hazards, and other infrastructure networks.