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Research Projects

STATUS: In Progress YEAR: 2019 TOPIC AREA: Safety and security CENTER: PSR

Developing an Analytical Framework for Optimizing Disaster Relief Preparedness to Coastal Hazards: A Preliminary Investigation of Factors Affecting Supply Chain Resilience in Hawaii

Project Summary

Project Number: PSR-19-70
Funding Source: US DOT
Contract Number: 69A3551747109
Funding Amount: $24,636
Start and End Dates: August 1, 2019 to July 31, 2020


Project Description

With more recognition of the advent and seriousness of climate change it is widely recognized that the existing infrastructure system could be disrupted more severely and frequently. For example, the more frequent and intense flooding from rising sea level and storm surges has increased the risk of delays, disruptions, and damage across the transportation systems (Savonis, Burkett, & Potter, 2008). Recurrent flooding and inundation already significantly burdened major roads in low-lying areas in Washington D.C, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, San Francisco, and South Florida (Ayyub, Braileanu, & Qureshi, 2012; Tompkins & DeConcini, 2014). Coastal communities has also been overwhelmed by major storms such as Hurricane Katrina (2005), Ike (2008), Irene (2011), and Sandy (2012), Harvey (2017), and Irma (2017). The frequency and magnitude of such climatic hazards are projected to increase with climate change. It shows how the damage to critical infrastructures and emergency facilities could become significantly more destructive than before. 

When the existing infrastructure systems are overwhelmed and disrupted, communities depend on disaster relief supply chain to maintain the community's lifeline and to improve disaster assistance response. The resilience of disaster relief supply chain would be become more important with the threat of climate change. In particular, disaster relief supply chain is of vital importance to communities in Hawaii, given Hawaii's particular susceptibility to coastal hazards, its geographic and topographic situation of the islands, the trend of sea level rise, and transportation remoteness, and heavy dependence (over 90 percent) on imported goods and fuel (Keener, 2013). 

With the intent to improve the resilience of Hawaiian disaster relief supply chain, this project proposes to conduct stakeholder interviews to investigate the key factors influencing the Hawaii's disaster relief preparedness to coastal hazards with consideration of potential climate change. The information collected would be used to develop an analytical framework for optimizing disaster relief supply chain in a two-stage optimization model. In particular, it would achieve the following objectives:

  • First, the project will identify the key stakeholders for Hawaii disaster relief preparedness, such as states, cities, and counties planning agencies, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, State of Hawaii Procurement Office, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Pacific Disaster Center, and small business administration disaster outreach. 
  • Second, the project would conduct key stakeholder interview to select the primary coastal hazard and climate change scenarios of concern, determine the planning year, understand the cost components, the consequence of loss, factors affecting future demand, decision variables, alternative adaptive strategies and decision making constraints.
  • Finally, the information collected would be refined and abstracted to extract key factors for the development of analytical framework. A simplified two-stage optimization model would be tested to validate the framework.



Suwan Shen
Assistant Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning (PLAN)
2500 Campus Rd
Honolulu, HI 96822
United States
[email protected]