Public Infrastructure Service Flexibility (28 pages)

Previewing pages 1, 2, 3, 26, 27, 28 of 28 page document View the full content.
View Full Document

Public Infrastructure Service Flexibility



Previewing pages 1, 2, 3, 26, 27, 28 of actual document.

View the full content.
View Full Document
View Full Document

14 views

Unformatted text preview:

Public Infrastructure Service Flexibility for Response and Recovery in the Attacks at the World Trade Center September 11 2001 Rae Zimmerman Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems Wagner Graduate School of Public Service New York University Introduction After the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11 2001 the ability to rapidly restore transportation power water and environmental services to users was absolutely critical especially to those involved in the immediate search rescue and recovery operations What better way could infrastructure serve its users both emergency workers and the general public than to be able to respond quickly in a crisis The ability to provide these services required a degree of flexibility often unanticipated and unplanned that only became apparent as the response efforts unfolded The capability of basic infrastructure service providers to respond to public needs for transportation energy communication water sanitation and solid waste removal after the September 11th attacks was to a great extent influenced by the flexibility of the initial infrastructure design and management functions to respond to normal system disruptions and to extreme but not necessarily terrorist related events The Concept of Flexibility Definitions and Significance The ability of physical systems and human services to respond rapidly to user needs is a broad measure of flexibility and is the focus of this paper The concept of flexibility as used in this research encompasses both the flexibility of physical configurations and the flexibility of social institutions to bring 242 Infrastructure Flexibility in the World Trade Center Attacks about changes that enable a system to return to its existing state or to an improved one What makes flexibility difficult to define precisely is that it can depend on specific objectives as well as the broad social and environmental contexts in which those objectives play out Attributes of flexibility as applied to infrastructure services may differ for example when the objective is to resist failure or survive shock as opposed to when the objective is for system improvement such as expansion in a non crisis environment Flexibility is often related to or associated with other traditional or technical concepts such as resiliency robustness redundancy diversity adaptability and interoperability These are described extensively in the scientific and engineering literature for a brief summary and references see Zimmerman 2001 Redundancy is a concept that is often considered synonymous with flexibility although it is but one component of it Redundancy has been defined in the context of the physical aspects of communications infrastructure as having extra capacity available generally from more than one source U S General Accounting Office 2003 p 92 Diversity another related term involves establishing different physical routes and using different equipment along those routes U S General Accounting Office 2003 p 92 Flexibility as used in this paper is broader than and encompasses these other concepts giving greater emphasis to the socioeconomic political organizational and environmental contexts of infrastructure systems and its explicit interdisciplinary character In its most general construction flexible infrastructure supports behavior that does not compromise the goals of the users of the service and includes the ability to change or adapt An operational definition of the concept of flexibility is provided below in terms of criteria Research Objective The research objective underscores the importance of building in flexibility early in infrastructure decisions The research hypothesis is If the initial design and operation of an infrastructure service is flexible in dealing with user needs it will be flexible in reducing the adverse consequences of a crisis Methods and Procedures Zimmerman 2003b evaluates many specific measures for infrastructure characteristics and behavior with respect to user needs before during and after the September 11th disaster at the World Trade Center These measures are used to test the hypothesis that flexibility supports the performance of Zimmerman 243 infrastructure in crises if it is incorporated as a basic or fundamental characteristic of infrastructure services Infrastructure as used in this research encompasses transportation energy communication water supply wastewater treatment and solid waste management services Criteria to Characterize Flexibility In order to operationalize the concept of flexibility for infrastructure services several guiding principles or criteria are used to identify and characterize flexibility as it applies to infrastructure services These criteria provide one basis for designing measures to evaluate how the infrastructure performed on and after September 11th The criteria below apply primarily to systems facing crisis conditions The first criterion is the existence of alternative routes to build new capacity or redistribute existing capacity between the sources of production and the intended users including emergency workers whose services have been curtailed or otherwise diminished as a consequence of an extreme event A corollary to this is the existence of alternative production facilities and locations as well that permit production to be rerouted or otherwise substituted in an extreme event The second criterion is managerial and organizational capability and capacity to quickly identify acquire and manage resources needed for the safety and security of the population including knowledge of how those systems operate and the power to control them in a crisis It includes materials labor and supplies for construction as well as to support workers residents and business operations In the management literature these resources are often referred to as slack resources Pfeffer and Salancik 1978 p 275 that is extra resources that can be mobilized when needed This ability is usually considered an important characteristic of disaster management Third is the ability to transfer information to users about the state of the system and the alternatives available to them in a way that is simple to use easy to understand and can be rapidly disseminated in order to reduce the consequences of a crisis that are specifically related to infrastructure Approach The approach consisted of the following steps to explore the validity of the hypothesis Numerous activities


Access the best Study Guides, Lecture Notes and Practice Exams

Loading Unlocking...
Login

Join to view Public Infrastructure Service Flexibility and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or
We will never post anything without your permission.
Don't have an account?
Sign Up

Join to view Public Infrastructure Service Flexibility and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or

By creating an account you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use

Already a member?