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  1. Urban flooding disrupts traffic networks, affecting mobility and disrupting residents’ access. Flooding events are predicted to increase due to climate change; therefore, understanding traffic network’s flood-caused disruption is critical to improving emergency planning and city resilience. This study reveals the anatomy of perturbed traffic networks by leveraging high-resolution traffic network data from a major flood event and advanced high-order network analysis. We evaluate travel times between every pairwise junction in the city and assess higher-order network geometry changes in the network to determine flood impacts. The findings show network-wide persistent increased travel times could last for weeks after the flood water has receded, even after modest flood failure. A modest flooding of 1.3% road segments caused 8% temporal expansion of the entire traffic network. The results also show that distant trips would experience a greater percentage increase in travel time. Also, the extent of the increase in travel time does not decay with distance from inundated areas, suggesting that the spatial reach of flood impacts extends beyond flooded areas. The findings of this study provide an important novel understanding of floods’ impacts on the functioning of traffic networks in terms of travel time and traffic network geometry. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2024
  2. The objective of this study is to predict road flooding risks based on topographic, hydrologic, and temporal precipitation features using machine learning models. Existing road inundation studies either lack empirical data for model validations or focus mainly on road inundation exposure assessment based on flood maps. This study addresses this limitation by using crowdsourced and fine-grained traffic data as an indicator of road inundation, and topographic, hydrologic, and temporal precipitation features as predictor variables. Two tree-based machine learning models (random forest and AdaBoost) were then tested and trained for predicting road inundations in the contexts of 2017 Hurricane Harvey and 2019 Tropical Storm Imelda in Harris County, Texas. The findings from Hurricane Harvey indicate that precipitation is the most important feature for predicting road inundation susceptibility, and that topographic features are more critical than hydrologic features for predicting road inundations in both storm cases. The random forest and AdaBoost models had relatively high AUC scores (0.860 and 0.810 for Harvey respectively and 0.790 and 0.720 for Imelda respectively) with the random forest model performing better in both cases. The random forest model showed stable performance for Harvey, while varying significantly for Imelda. This study advances the emerging field of smart flood resilience in terms of predictive flood risk mapping at the road level. In particular, such models could help impacted communities and emergency management agencies develop better preparedness and response strategies with improved situational awareness of road inundation likelihood as an extreme weather event unfolds.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  3. Abstract

    Compound failures occur when urban flooding coincides with traffic congestion, and their impact on network connectivity is poorly understood. Firstly, either three-dimensional road networks or the traffic on the roads has been considered, but not both. Secondly, we lack network science frameworks to consider compound failures in infrastructure networks. Here we present a network-theory-based framework that bridges this gap by considering compound structural, functional, and topological failures. We analyze high-resolution traffic data using network percolation theory to study the response of the transportation network in Harris County, Texas, US to Hurricane Harvey in 2017. We find that 2.2% of flood-induced compound failure may lead to a reduction in the size of the largest cluster where network connectivity exists, the giant component, 17.7%. We conclude that indirect effects, such as changes in traffic patterns, must be accounted for when assessing the impacts of flooding on transportation network connectivity and functioning.

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  4. Abstract

    Smart resilience is the beneficial result of the collision course of the fields of data science and urban resilience to flooding. The objective of this study is to propose and demonstrate a smart flood resilience framework that leverages heterogeneous community-scale big data and infrastructure sensor data to enhance predictive risk monitoring and situational awareness. The smart flood resilience framework focuses on four core capabilities that could be augmented by the use of heterogeneous community-scale big data and analytics techniques: (1) predictive flood risk mapping; (2) automated rapid impact assessment; (3) predictive infrastructure failure prediction and monitoring; and (4) smart situational awareness capabilities. We demonstrate the components of these core capabilities of the smart flood resilience framework in the context of the 2017 Hurricane Harvey in Harris County, Texas. First, we present the use of flood sensors for the prediction of floodwater overflow in channel networks and inundation of co-located road networks. Second, we discuss the use of social media and machine learning techniques for assessing the impacts of floods on communities and sensing emotion signals to examine societal impacts. Third, we describe the use of high-resolution traffic data in network-theoretic models for nowcasting of flood propagation on road networks and the disrupted access to critical facilities, such as hospitals. Fourth, we introduce how location-based and credit card transaction data were used in spatial analyses to proactively evaluate the recovery of communities and the impacts of floods on businesses. These analyses show that the significance of core capabilities of the smart flood resilience framework in helping emergency managers, city planners, public officials, responders, and volunteers to better cope with the impacts of catastrophic flooding events.

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