Agents of Change for Resilient Infrastructure

T. D. O’ Rourke

The effects of hurricanes with respect to infrastructure resilience are reviewed with reference to Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. The effects of Hurricane Sandy on New York City and subsequent programs to improve the City’s infrastructure are described. Special attention is focused on the restoration of the L Line Tunnel, which was flooded by Hurricane Sandy. Professor O’Rourke will describe how a team from Cornell and Columbia Universities was assembled at the request of Governor Andrew Cuomo to help re-engineer a $1/2 billion project to rehabilitate the tunnel, and still keep the subway in service. The new approach integrates several advanced technologies, including distributed fiber optics and LiDAR, and makes a breakthrough in infrastructure restoration resulting from interdisciplinary work between civil and electrical engineers. He will also describe recent advances in earthquake resilience for the regional water supply for Southern California. The agents of change that lead to improved policies and approaches are explored, including the technical, institutional, and social challenges of introducing new technologies and engaging community support.