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Risk Assessment of Highway Systems Report Published

MCEER recently published A Risk-Based Methodology for Assessing the Seismic Performance of Highway Systems, by S.D. Werner, C.E. Taylor, J.E. Moore III, J.S. Walton and S. Cho, as part of its regular series of technical reports (MCEER-00-0014). This report was developed under MCEER's Highway Project, which is sponsored primarily by the Federal Highway Administration.

The report resulted from research which first investigated and demonstrated how a network-based seismic risk assessment methodology could be developed and applied to a regional highway system. Based on this, the research then developed a formal set of methodologies and procedures for conducting a seismic risk assessment of highway networks and systems, and applied this to a case study example. The formal methodologies and case study example, which is based on probabilistic scenario New Madrid Seismic Zone earthquakes in the region near Memphis, Tennessee, are fully described and documented in the report.

At the time the research was initiated in 1993, there was skepticism as to whether the state of technology in systems-based risk assessment methodologies could support advances applicable to highway systems. As this report well documents, significant progress has been made in the field and the methodologies proposed can be readily applied by transportation agencies. Although additional work will be required to refine these methodologies and to develop integrated software packages that can be easily used by transportation agencies, several such agencies have already expressed interest and may be conducting their own assessments of the approaches provided in the report. Work is also continuing on this through MCEER's current Highway Project 094 research program.

A paper summarizing much of this research effort was included in this year's Research Progress and Accomplishments report, and can be downloaded from

Risk-based methodology for assessing seismic performance of highway systems

Report MCEER-00-0014 is available for $35.00 through MCEER Publications, phone: (716) 645-3391; fax: (716) 645-3399, email:; or via the publications section of the web site at .

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