DRC-Disaster Research Center

Active Studies

This page is currently being updated. In the interim, please visit our online institutional repository to access our recent Annual Reports. Our Annual Reports include information regarding projects and activities conducted as well as documents produced by the Disaster Research Center and its staff during the calendar year.

 

"Information Chain Support for Disaster Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery"
Principal Investigator: Hui Fang
Co-Principal Investigators: Xiaoming Li, Pat Young, and James Kendra
Funding Institution: National Science Foundation

This collaborative project brings together researchers from both DRC and the University of Delaware's Computer and Information Sciences Department to develop a new search tool to mine large data sets more efficiently and effectively. Using DISCAT (DRC's E.L. Quarantelli Resource Collection catalog database) as a test bed, researchers will create a new way to search for relevant resources utilizing multiple query terms simultaneously, thus yielding more useful results. The goal is to enable first responders and others in need of immediate results from information mining to receive more relevant resources as quickly as possible.

“Contingency Dual Status Command:
Enhancing Missions in the Homeland through the Lens of Process Improvement”

Principal Investigator: Sue McNeil
Funding Institution: Department of Defense

"Using information at different spatial scales
to estimate demand to support asset management decision making"
Principal Investigator: Sue McNeil
Co-Principal Investigator: Joe Trainor
Funding Institution: Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation

The focus of this project is to understand how diverse, large data sets support asset management decision-making post disaster. In particular, the focus is on integrating sensor, survey, demographic, vulnerability and condition data related to the supporting infrastructure, the community, and households.

"Understanding the Relationship Between Household Decisions and Infrastructure Investment in Disaster Recovery: Cases from Superstorm Sandy"
Principal Investigator: Sue McNeil
Co-Principal Investigator: Joe Trainor
Funding Institution: Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation

Hurricanes, storms and floods damage roads, bridges, transit lines and other elements of our transportation infrastructure. Restoring the transportation infrastructure is widely recognized as an important element of short-term recovery as the reconstruction of the built environment and the other elements of the long term recovery are dependent on a functional transportation system. However, in the long term, changes in development and settlement patterns occur and additional or different investments in transportation infrastructure are required to deliver safe and efficient transportation. We know very little about how, where, when and why these changes occur. This exploratory research project aims to better understand the role transportation infrastructure plays in the disaster recovery process. By documenting transportation infrastructure damage and repair, conducting interviews to understand community and household attitudes, and researching incentives and resources related to household decisions regarding relocation and rebuilding in two communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy we will better understand how to provide transportation infrastructure recovery activity that meets the needs of communities impacted by disaster.

“Unity of Effort:
Enhancing Missions in the Homeland through the Lens of Process Improvements”
Principal Investigator: Sue McNeil
Funding Institution: Department of Defense

"Collaborative Research: an Interdisciplinary Approach to Modeling
Multiple Stakeholder Decision-making to Reduce Regional Natural Disaster Risk"

Co-Principal Investigators: Rachel Davidson and Joe Trainor
Funding Institution: National Science Foundation

The proposed project will result in a new framework of interacting mathematical models that can be used to better understand, design, and evaluate government natural disaster risk management policies, such as providing funds to help homeowners strengthen their homes, requiring homeowners to buy natural disaster insurance, or offering to buy high-risk homes. By supporting improved design and evaluation of public policies, the project will help the country better manage its risk. By considering the individual, sometimes competing stakeholder points-of-view up front, as an integral part of the analysis, the new framework will make it easier to identify those win-win system-wide solutions that are most likely to be put into action and to be effective. The framework is designed to be consistent with the “whole community” approach promoted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which encourages involving all parts of the community in helping to address the challenge. Engaging representatives of the relevant government agencies, and insurance and home building industries as partners at the beginning of the project will help ensure that the research offers usable results that can be put into practice as quickly and effectively as possible. Graduate and undergraduate research assistants, including women and underrepresented minorities, will participate in the research, and the researchers will incorporate the results into their courses and new Ph.D. programs at their universities.

“Promoting Community Resilience in New York City After Hurricane Sandy:
A Model-based Approach”

Principal Investigator: James Kendra
Funding Institution: Department of Health and Human Services


“Community Resilience Index”
Principal Investigator: James Kendra
Funding Institution: Johns Hopkins University

This research will advance understanding of a community's survivability. In cooperation with colleagues at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, we will consider community resilience in light of both the current literature on the topic as well as taking a fresh look at elements of resilience based on DRC's field research and on advanced modeling techniques.


“Hazards SEES Type 2:
Next Generation Resilient Warning Systems for Tornado and Flash Floods”

Principal Investigator: Joseph Trainor
Funding Institution: University of Massachusetts


“Hazards SEES Type 2:
Dynamic Integration of Natural, Human, and Infrastructure Systems for Hurricane Evacuation and Sheltering”

Principal Investigator: Rachel Davidson
Funding Institution: National Science Foundation


“Evolution of Culture among Warning System Organizations”
Principal Investigator: Joseph Trainor           
Funding Institution: National Science Foundation


“Collaborative CDI Type II: Cyber Enabled Discovery System for Advanced
Multidisciplinary Study of Humanitarian Logistics for Disaster Response”

Principal Investigator: Tricia Wachtendorf
Funding Institution: National Science Foundation


“FEMA/Issues in Disaster Science and Management"
Principal Investigator: Joseph Trainor, and Tony Subbio, Tetra Tech
Funding Institution: EnDyna, Inc. and the Federal Emergency Management Agency

This project will help bridge the divide between disaster science and practice. Our approach focuses the attention of academic/practitioner teams on a series of critical contemporary issues related to disasters. For each issue, academics and practitioners will be selected to describe what we "know." Researchers will be asked to focus on the scientific findings and practitioners will be asked to discuss patterns and variation in national policies/state of practice. The focus of the project will be on facilitating an exchange of ideas between these communities and developing a vision for how their important insights could be brought together to make the U.S. emergency management system better. Ultimately this work will result in a textbook for advanced undergraduate and introductory graduate level courses.