Towards more Earthquake-resilient Urban Societies through a Multi-sensor-based Information System enabling Earthquake Forecasting, Early Warning and Rapid Response actions


Newsletter January 2022

There are only a few months left until the end of TURNkey (May 2022) and the demonstration of the TURNkey platform, scheduled for the end of April in Alicante (Spain). 
Most of the Work Packages (WPs) have been completed and with them all the related activities that have led to the achievement of all the set objectives. 
In this newsletter, we present the results of WP4 (Physical and Systemic Vulnerability Estimation for Rapid Loss Prediction Updating) and WP5 (Decision Support Systems for real-time and near real-time disaster prevention and risk communication), both officially completed in autumn 2021. A final joint WP4&5 meeting was held online last December, facilitated by BRGM (Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières, WP4 Coordinator) and UCL (University College London, WP5 Coordinator), and joined by many consortium members. The event summarized the scientific results achieved in each task and took stock of the work completed since the start of the project.

Achievements in Work Package 4

The main objective of WP4 was the development of a Rapid Earthquake Loss Prediction Model to estimate the losses immediately after an earthquake (i.e., Rapid Response to Earthquakes). To this end, the following successive steps have been completed:
  • Evaluation and development of physical vulnerability models (Task 4.1): a knowledge-based exposure-modeling framework depending on the level of investigation and available data has been developed. In particular, the proposed framework supports the modeling of the physical assets (i.e., building/infrastructure/lifeline taxonomy scheme), recognizing various levels of uncertainties as well as the (lacking) completeness of the exposure catalog. In addition, for some specific structures (i.e., a pile-supported wharf and a crane in a port facility), ad-hoc fragility models have been developed.
  • Estimation of the functionality losses of Critical Infrastructure Systems following an earthquake (Task 4.2): a key result is the development of an adaptive modelling framework that generates probabilistic estimates of the damage states of infrastructure components and of the systemic functionality loss. It has been demonstrated on a road network in one of the TURNkey testbeds (i.e., TB-2: Pyrenees mountain range, France).
  • Application and test of structural health monitoring methods based on information acquired from the sensors (Task 4.3): using a shake-table benchmark dataset, algorithms for automated damage detection have been developed, based on signal analysis techniques to compute variations in the system dynamic properties due to damage. Moreover, a database of recordings was built by collecting signals recorded by RaspberryShake-4D sensors during recent earthquakes in TB-1 (Bucharest, Romania). These recordings have been used to identify the natural period of vibration of the structures.
  • Collation of online citizen accounts after an earthquake (Task 4.4.1): two distinct and complementary tools have been developed, namely LastQuakers and WhatsQuakers. The former aims at creating a global community of amateurs that could be activated to collect and curate observations on earthquake damage. The latter is based on the messaging app Whatsapp, and it targets seismologists at a global scale, the group being activated after damaging earthquakes to share views and data among experts.
  • Real-time estimation of the location of people after an earthquake (Task 4.4.2): a statistical method has been developed to locate people soon after a strong earthquake with the goal of helping rescue people who are identified as missing and assess the population exposure to dangerous shaking levels. Smartphone technology (i.e., data collected from EQNetwork app users) is at the basis of the techniques and methods used.
  • Procedure for Rapid Earthquake Loss Prediction (Task 4.5): a sampling-based Bayesian updating method to refine damage and loss estimates from field observations has been developed. The method applies to large real-world systems, such as extended built areas or real-world infrastructure systems. It has been applied to the TB-2 area (Pyrenees mountain range, France), where the damage distribution of typical buildings and the connectivity loss of the road network system are estimated in a rapid response context.

Achievements in Work Package 5

The main objective of WP5 was the development and testing of Decision Support Systems (DSSs) for real-time (Operational Earthquake Forecasting, OEF; and Earthquake Early Warning, EEW) and near-real-time (Rapid Response to Earthquakes, RRE) disaster prevention, integrating frameworks, methods, models, and datasets from WP3 and WP4. To this end, the following successive steps have been completed:
  • Development of stakeholder performance metrics (Task 5.1): this task reviewed the approaches used in the TURNkey testbeds to measure stakeholder resilience to earthquakes and developed a theoretical framework for assessing and demonstrating the impact of the TURNkey platform on improving the resilience of critical infrastructure, business organizations, and the community.
  • Community resilience and recovery models (Task 5.2): this task investigated the seismic resilience of road networks under earthquake-induced ground motions by leveraging post-shock rapid response as a crucial aspect of minimizing such networks’ functionality losses. Specifically, an agent-based modeling framework was developed to assess the resilience of earthquake-damaged road networks when different system repair approaches are considered. The proposed framework was applied to a real-world road network across Luchon, France. In addition, the analytical hierarchy process and system dynamics were used to identify barriers and opportunities to improve resilience-oriented RRE and to determine specific mechanisms that can be implemented at a community level for the RRE of critical infrastructure-community systems under seismic hazard. System-dynamics approaches were also used to determine the dynamic stakeholder response, which is included in the modeling framework developed in this task.
  • Development of DSSs for OEF and EEW (Task 5.3): this task developed a novel methodology for OEF/EEW decision making and then demonstrated it through applications to TURNkey testbeds. The methodologies gradually develop in complexity from decision-support approaches that depend exclusively on seismological parameters to state-of-the-art comprehensive risk-informed DSSs that unify earthquake-engineering-related performance assessment procedures/metrics (for end-user-focused damage and consequence estimation) with multi-criteria decision-making tools (to consider end-user preferences toward different types of risks). It was showcased through several applications across TURNkey testbeds (TBs):
    • OEF decision-making for a warehouse, a building, and a community in Patras, Greece (TB-4);
    • EEW decision-making for an archetype school building in Patras, Greece (TB-4), the Port of Gioia Tauro (TB-5), and a bridge in the Pyrenees (TB-2).
  • Development of a DSS for post-event rapid response, also accounting for aftershocks (Task 5.4): this task revolved around two specific focus areas:
    • Design of a DSS for the post-earthquake accessibility of a road network, following the general WP5 methodology. The proposed DSS aims at identifying the best routes to navigate a degraded road network (accounting for uncertainty in the actual state of the road components) depending on the type of user (e.g., emergency responders, health-care crew, the general public, etc.);
    • Assessment of structural damage occurring to infrastructure components under mainshock and future aftershock events. A Bayesian network-based probabilistic framework was developed for updating the risk of damage to bridges during aftershocks, allowing the integration of various types of information to reduce uncertainty in the calculations and enhance post-event decision-making and ultimately RRE.
  • Development of protocols for response, emergency management, and safety communication (Task 5.5): this task first reviewed the response protocols of the TURNkey platform’s end users. It then determined the potential to improve these protocols through the EEW, OEF, and RRE features of the platform. The work consisted of three phases:
    • Phase 1, determining the earthquake response plans/procedures that are currently in use across Europe, identifying their common elements (AS-IS Analysis);
    • Phase 2, analyzing the EEW, OEF, and RRE features of the TURNkey platform, identifying their benefits;
    • Phase 3, proposing improved response protocols based on the results of Stage 2.
  • The Civil Protection of Veneto, Italy, was involved in this task as a stakeholder, particularly to support Phase 3.
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