Research Projects

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Research Projects

STATUS: Complete YEAR: 2017 TOPIC AREA: Safety and security CENTER: PSR

Physical Exposure and Social Sensitivity: Estimating Sea Level Rise Impacts to Transportation through Vulnerability Assessment and Social Media Analysis

Project Summary

Funding Source


Total Project Cost


Agency ID or Contract Number


Start and End Dates

1/1/2018 to 12/31/2018

Brief Description of
Research Project

This project proposes to combine traditional transportation vulnerability assessments with social media analysis to assess the potential impacts of sea level rise on transportation and propose adaptation suggestions. Through the innovative examination of past extreme coastal flooding events in Honolulu, it could provide empirical evidence for potential sea level rise impacts and achieve the following objectives. 

1)    First, the project will identify the vulnerable roadways to assess the system performance changes and the spatial distribution of accessibility reduction before and after the road network degradation caused by coastal flooding.

2)    Second, it will examine the relationship between physical accessibility reduction and public-perceived flooding impacts on transportation, which provides a way to validate the impact assessment as well as reveals the social sensitivity to such impacts.

3)    Third, it will support the development of adaptation strategies by identifying the most physically vulnerable and socially sensitive areas and discovering people?s major concerns in transportation during such events.

4)    Finally, it will share the findings through web-based visualization to facilitate stakeholder interaction and public education.  

The findings not only have practical significance to the case study area, but also have the potential to be generalized to similar coastal regions. The innovative approach and methodology could also be applied to assess coastal hazards impact to transportation in other places.




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


Yi Qiang
Assistant Professor, Department of Geography,
2500 Campus Rd
Honolulu, HI 96822
United States
[email protected]