A review of Resilience in interdependent transport, energy and water systems

Adrian Hickford

Background

Modern societies depend on critical infrastructure systems to provide essential services that support societal well-being, economic prosperity, governance, and quality of life. The complexity and interdependence of these systems has increased over time due to designers and planners taking advantage of opportunities afforded by new technologies, and responding to increasing pressures to provide more efficient and cost-effective infrastructure services. One unanticipated side-effect has been an increased potential for small failures in one system to cascade, resulting in catastrophic events across the wider network.

Critical infrastructure networks have complex mechanisms in place for planning, financing, funding, design, construction and operation. Resilience, and the emerging concept of resilience engineering within infrastructure, are among the main concerns to those managing such complex systems, alongside stewardship, sustainability, financing and funding mechanisms and project delivery and management.

This report forms part of a series of scoping studies carried out as part of the Resilient Shift programme funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF). The focus of this report is a review of the current practice and future opportunities for resilience engineering in the critical interdependent infrastructure sectors of energy, water and transport.

‘Resilience Engineering’ was identified as one of four strategic funding priorities for LRF together with the complementary topics of ‘Structural Integrity and Systems Performance’, ‘Human and Social Factors’ and ‘Emergent Technologies’. The Resilience Shift programme emerged from that strategic standpoint, following a workshop held in April 2015 and subsequent consultation and foresight review, which aimed to identify the applications of RE in relevant sectors and to determine any gaps in the understanding, communication and improvement of resilience.

Authors

Adrian Hickford, Simon Blainey, Alejandro Ortega Hortelano, Raghav Pant