Towards More Resilient Transportation Network against Natural Hazards in Nablus City, Palestine

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Aqel, Ethar
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جامعة النجاح الوطنية
The resilience of transportation networks as part of any community’s critical infrastructure has been a topic of interest and an important field representing a new way of understanding and managing the safety of these networks when exposing to any disruption event in the past few decades. The major objective of this thesis is to qualitatively assess the resilience of Nablus City transportation network at a macro-scale level against the potential natural hazards that the city would be exposed to, through developing an assessment framework. This ranges from the most severe hazard, which is the earthquake, the least probable hazard, which is the snowing hazard, and reaching to the most probable hazard, which is the intensive rainfalls that could lead to flooding events, in addition to the probable land sliding triggered events as natural hazards have a cascading nature. Surface transportation networks in Palestine are considered as substantial and crucial part of Palestinian integrated critical infrastructures system as these networks are the only way for traveling between and within Palestinian cities for providing emergency and relief services. The geographical location of Nablus City made certain peculiarity for the city in terms of location. This peculiarity reflected on the transportation network of Nablus City, as in most cases have narrow roads running a long side the mountains. Because of the steep grades on the mountainous areas, most of the roads in these areas have no access to other parallel roads, which means that the closure of one link during disruption events may cause other links to be inaccessible in the same area. Therefore, the process of evacuation and emergency response through these events will encounter serious difficulties. The process of assessing the resilience for Nablus City transport networks was divided into three main phases: conceptualization, risk assessment, which forms a major part of the resilience assessment, and resilience assessment. Through these phases, the desired level of resilience for each identified hazard was measured, then spreadsheets including a range of specific measures related to each resilience dimension were developed to assess the current level of resilience for the transportation network. Based on the results, Nablus City transportation infrastructure has a moderate level of resilience against natural hazards. While the desired level of resilience against seismic hazard for it must be very high resilience, and a high to moderate level of resilience must exist against flooding and snowing hazards. This means interventions and improvements are needed to increase the level of resilience against these hazards to reach the desired level. The weaknesses that resulted in decreasing the existing level of resilience were explored through the assessment spreadsheets. This helps the decision makers to start mobilizing the efforts to set priorities on which aspects they would start working on to improve the current situation of the network. Finally, methods on how to increase the level of resilience against each hazard were also proposed through prevention, mitigation, and adaptation measures. This includes establishing disaster preparedness, coping, and management plans, building a national platform database for every natural hazard, and increasing and promoting knowledge, risk wise behavior, and awareness towards such events