We collaborate with transportation agencies worldwide to provide threat, vulnerability and risk assessments (TVRA) and design mitigation measures for critical infrastructure. These facilities, which usually involve unique forms, settings or requirements, do not conform to the better-understood parameters of standard buildings. Examples include suspension, cable-stayed, truss and arch bridges; concrete, cast-iron, brick, under-river and in-soil tunnels; heavy and commuter rail infrastructure, including elevated track structures and passenger stations; aviation infrastructure, including terminals, parking garages and fuel storage facilities; and bus terminals.
We develop TVRA studies and fully design mitigation measures for new and existing structures, both modern and historic. Our assessments address structural elements, glazing systems, and topographical and landscape details surrounding the asset.
Our approach is anchored in U.S.-based best practices, which we’ve helped to propound since 2001, and in owner-specific requirements and operations. Our process involves four main steps:
• We define threats and threat scenarios, ranging from man-made threats – explosive; fire; chemical, biological or radiological (CBR); equipment sabotage; impact and ramming – and accidental or natural hazards such as fire, flood or wind to develop a design-basis threat report (DBT).
• We perform vulnerability and risk assessments – to quantify the consequences of each threat type in terms of loss of life, property damage, operational disruptions and loss of function – and use the data to formulate a single composite risk score.
• We develop mitigation countermeasures, such as physical hardening, electronic security, rapid recovery and others, and quantify associated risk reductions.
• We provide cost-benefit analysis (CBA) to help our clients most effectively prioritize mitigation measures.
Accurately quantifying the consequences of an attack is critical to defining mitigation measures that support creative architecture while providing essential security and operational resilience. Different threat types invoke different regimes of physics, which require their own analytical tools. We offer exceptional expertise in that regard, having developed state-of-the-art computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software for airblast and underwater-explosion load analyses, as well as nonlinear explicit dynamic finite-element analysis software to evaluate the resulting structural response.
We have developed a number of computer programs that predict the dynamics of extreme events with the fidelity needed to develop integrated, cost-effective mitigation measures. The results of our software have been validated against large-scale explosive experiments, performed under the aegis of the U.S. Departments of Defense and Homeland Security and other government entities.
The best way to incorporate mitigation measures is to “bake them in” to the base design. Therefore, we like to get involved in the design process early and to collaborate with all project stakeholders from the start. And combining these services with our in-house structural and façade engineering services allows us to provide seamlessly coordinated designs for each that improve aesthetics, design and construction duration, and the bottom line.
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