Recent federal legislation and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have directed state transportation agencies to identify potential vulnerabilities associated with extreme weather events and climate change, develop a risk-based asset management plan, and incorporate findings into transportation planning, design, and maintenance practices. The Kentucky Transportation Center and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet developed and led district-level workshops to elicit local expert knowledge on asset vulnerabilities to natural hazards. Combining the results of these workshops with analysis of available data on assets and hazards, they then performed a natural hazard vulnerability assessment of the state’s National Highway System (NHS) for each of Kentucky’s 12 districts. The four most critical extreme weather and natural hazards are earthquakes, floods, landslides, and sinkholes. NHS assets such as highway segments, bridges, culverts, and other structures (e.g., overpasses) were assessed for risk to these hazards. Researchers used a modified version of the Federal Highway Administration’s Vulnerability Assessment Scoring Tool (VAST). This assessment tool uses an indicator-based approach to assessing vulnerability and promoting resiliency, and results in a vulnerability score for each NHS segment and each hazard type. The output of the assessment process includes a GIS-based data system capable of producing maps that communicate vulnerable locations. Of the 287 NHS segments in Kentucky, 83 were found to have high vulnerability to earthquakes, floods, landslides, or sinkholes.

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© 2018 University of Kentucky, Kentucky Transportation Center

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The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors, who are responsible for the facts and accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the University of Kentucky, the Kentucky Transportation Center, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the United States Department of Transportation, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. The inclusion of manufacturer names or trade names is for identification purposes and should not be considered an endorsement.