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Grover Awarded Research Grant from the National Science Foundation!

Posted: 9/2/2022 (CSDE Research)

CSDE Affiliate Himanshu Grover has been awarded a new grant from the National Science Foundation. The project is titled, “Assessing the Expectations Gap – Impact on Critical Infrastructure Service Providers’ and Consumers’ Preparedness, and Response.” While community lifeline service providers and local emergency managers must maintain coordinated response and recovery plans, their timelines may not match expectations of local consumers of lifeline services. Indeed, it is quite likely consumers have unrealistic expectations about lifeline restoration, which could explain current inadequate levels of disaster preparedness. This hypothesized expectation gap has received little attention because engineering research typically addresses providers’ capacities, whereas disaster research addresses household and business preparedness. This project will provide government agencies, lifeline providers, and consumers with strong evidence to address the expectations gap and, in turn, promote appropriate preparedness actions that will increase community resilience. This research will produce significant societal benefits to consumers and lifeline providers in the broader Cascadia region, and other areas exposed to major earthquakes by facilitating an informed information exchange among stakeholders. The authors focus on energy, water, wastewater, and communication, whose restoration is critical for limiting cascading damages, and for rapid recovery of community functions.

Grover’s project will address this issue by assessing consumers’ (households, business owners/managers, nonprofit managers) expectations about lifeline system performance, and comparing them to lifeline provider capacity in a post-hazard event scenario (following a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake of 9.0 magnitude or greater) in two communities—Kirkland and Shoreline, WA (likely to experience most shaking in this scenario). The research goal of this proposal is to identify and quantify determinants of the gap between societal expectations of critical lifeline systems performance in a hazard event and the planned resilience (avoiding failures/ timeline for service restoration) of these systems. The authors will address the following research questions: 1) What do consumers think is the likely level of critical lifeline disruption from an earthquake and the timeline for restoration? 2) What are consumers’ current levels of preparedness for lifeline interruption? 3) What do lifeline providers and an independent engineering expert think are providers’ capabilities to maintain and restore lifeline services? 4) How do consumers’ expectations compare with providers’ capabilities (expectations gap)? 5) How will this study’s feedback about the expectations gap affect consumers’ and providers’ lifeline resilience expectations, as well as their mitigation and preparedness intentions? The authors’ research methodology ensures that minority residents and business will directly benefit from this research through feedback information sharing in second round of data collection. Outcomes of this research will enhance consumers’ preparedness and lifeline providers’ recovery capacity.