Tunnel Flood Risk Analysis

Projected tunnel inflow volumes and flood extents across the MBTA rail rapid transit system under a 1-100 year coastal flood event with +0.79 m of SLR

Tunnels and underground infrastructure in coastal regions can be quite vulnerable to flood events (as evidenced by the significant flooding and damage of the New York City subway system during Hurricane Sandy). Yet, there has been surprisingly little research or consulting work focused on understanding the current or future flood risks of tunnel systems. Relying on principles of fluid mechanics and hydraulic design, I've assessed present and future coastal flood risk for the entire MBTA rail rapid transit network, including the interconnected underground portions of the system. Leveraging the latest coastal flood risk projections from Woods Hole Group, this flood risk assessment research demonstrates the high sensitivity of underground infrastructure to sea level rise.

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments for Infrastructure

Screenshot of the Climate Resilience and Vulnerability Assessment Tool for transit (CRaVAT transit) developed for internal use at the MBTA. CRaVAT enables users to explore the operational impacts of a range of coastal flood events under present and future sea level conditions..

Working closely with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) I've conducted several climate change vulnerability assessments as part of an ongoing research collaboration. Leveraging a deep understanding of resilience theory, climate science, and engineering, I've investigated and quantified the future impacts of climate change on a wide variety of infrastructure assets, including transit right-of-way, transit stations, bus garages, rolling stock, and commuter rail facilities.

Climate Adaptation Valuation

Performance of a climate adaptation pathway under baseline and flexible implementation expressed via: a) Net Present Value (NPV) and b) Discounted Cumulative Losses (DCL) over time, given the implementation timelines presented in (c).

Valuation of climate change adaptation investments requires an accurate assessment of current and future risk, as well as methods of considering uncertainty in investment performance and future climate stressors. Through my academic work, I've developed innovative and practical ways of using the latest climate science and computational tools to incorporate uncertainty in the valuation of adaptation investments.

Assessing Flood Risk (with Sea Level Rise) 

Projected coastal flood risk (as measured by expected annual loss; EAL) over time under several uncertain sea level rise (SLR) distributions proivded by the IPCC 6th Assessment Report (AR6)

Understanding current and projected future coastal flood exposure is crucial to determining the risk and vulnerability of infrastructure assets to existing hazards and climate change. I'm experienced with interpreting, understanding, and using climate risk/exposure data sets, as well as understanding and effectively communicating the uncertainty associated with future projections of climate exposure.

Quantifying Infrastructure Resilience

Projected system performance of the MBTA rail rapid transit system under a 1-100 year coastal  flood event with +0.21 m of sea level rise (SLR)

In addition to understanding how exposure to a climate hazard can impact or damage an asset or facility, consideration of systemwide performance impacts is also an important aspect of assessing vulnerability. Through my academic work, I've developed innovative ways to quantify and assess the systemwide impact of climate exposure to overall system performance, and have leveraged these innovations to provide practical insights and value to the MBTA.

Advanced Geotechnical Analysis

Large-deformation finite element analysis results showing computed deformations (left) and excess pore pressures (right) for an embankment experiencing several meters of settlement.

Large-deformation finite element analysis results showing computed deformations (left) and excess pore pressures (right) for an embankment experiencing several meters of settlement.

Complicated real-world geotechnical engineering problems often require the use of advanced finite element models to assess stability of structures, deformations, and ground movements.  Through several projects, including a large-deformation finite element analysis of an embankment experiencing excessive settlements (greater than 7 meters), I've strengthened my expertise in interpreting subsurface conditions, performing finite element analysis, and modeling complex soil behavior.