Building Resilient Transportation Systems: Strategies for Pre-disaster planning and Post-disaster restoration to Extreme Weather Events

Lili Du, PhD

Professor, University of Florida

NRC renowned Research Associate,

Federal Highway Administration-Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center

Friday, April 19, 2024 | 11 a.m. | 140 Ketter Hall


Lili Du.

The transportation system serves as a critical lifeline infrastructure in urban communities, essential for economic, social, and public health aspects. However, the increasing frequency of extreme weather events such as flooding, hurricanes, and earthquakes due to climate change poses significant challenges to its efficiency, safety, sustainability, and equity. This seminar explores strategic approaches to empower the transportation system, focusing on pre-disaster planning and post-disaster restoration. The presentation showcases interdisciplinary approaches integrating operations research, transportation modeling, AI/ML, and urban planning. Notable studies include developing reinforcement learning-aided sequential decisions for roadway restoration after flooding, factoring in a complicated socioeconomic and physical dynamic environment such as elastic traffic demand variation, road deterioration dynamics, and hydrodynamics; developing a vulnerability index of roadways and a bi-level optimization model for adaptive road reinforcement plans, enabling swift emergency response to disasters of varying severity and uncertainties; crafting robust plans that accommodate demand surges during extreme events and align with the evolving EV market, ensuring reliable and efficient electric vehicle charging services. Numerical experiments validated the efficacy of those models and algorithms. Our studies aim to establish an interdisciplinary foundation for resilient transportation and even civil infrastructure systems, promoting efficient and equitable mobility services in the face of environmental challenges and contributing to overall community resilience and prosperity.


Lili Du is currently working as an NRC renowned research associate at the Federal Highway Administration-Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, and she is also a professor in the Civil and Coastal Engineering Department, University of Florida. She received her Ph.D. degree in Decision Sciences and Engineering Systems with a minor in Operations Research and Statistics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2008. Dr. Du's research is characterized by integrating operations research, network modeling, game theory, control theory, AI, and statistical methods into traffic flow analysis, transportation system analysis, urban planning, and network modeling. Her current research mainly focuses on the impacts of connected and/or autonomous vehicles and electric vehicles, mobility on demand, smart curb, network resilience, and traffic flow analysis. Dr. Du's research has been published in Transportation Research Part B, Part C, and Part D, IEEE Transactions on ITS, Networks, and Spatial Economics. Her research has been funded by NSF, State DOTs, STRIDE UTC, FMRI UTC, and Toyota InfoTechnology Center. Dr. Du was a recipient of the NSF CAREER award in 2016. Her project, "Driverless City" won the First Nayar Prize at IIT. She is the founding and active chair of both TRB AEP40-4 subcommittee on Emerging Technologies in Network Modeling and ASCE-T&DI Artificial Intelligence in Transportation Committee. She serves as an editor for Transportation Research Part B: Methodological and an associate editor for IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems.