University of California, Los Angeles
January 31 – February 4, 2022

ASCE Resiliance

UCLA Samueli School of Engineering

O'RourkeT.D. O’Rourke

Thomas R. Briggs Professor of Engineering Cornell University

He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering, Distinguished Member of ASCE, International Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Member of the Mexican Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science.

He received a number of distinctions for his research and teaching, including the Stephen D. Bechtel Pipeline Engineering and Ralph B. Peck Awards from ASCE. He gave the 2009 Rankine and 2016 Terzaghi Lectures. He served as President of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) and as the chair or member of many professional society committees. He received the George W. Housner Medal in 2016 for contributions to earthquake engineering. He is the first recipient of the LeVal Lund Award and received the C. Martin Duke Award, both for lifeline earthquake engineering.

He authored or co-authored over 400 technical publications. His research interests cover geotechnical engineering, earthquake engineering, underground construction technologies, engineering for large, geographically distributed systems, and geographic information technologies and database management.

He has served on numerous government advisory boards, as well as the consulting boards or peer reviews for many projects associated with highway, rapid transit, water supply, and energy distribution systems. He served as an advisor on more than 120 projects in 13 different countries.

Presentation: Lifeline Earthquake Engineering – Its Legacy and Lessons Learned

San Fernando Earthquake Conference – 50 Years of Lifeline Engineering

Tom O’Rourke

Cornell University


Lifelines are large geographically distributed systems that provide essential resources and services. They primarily are grouped into six major networks associated with electric power, gas and liquid fuels, telecommunications, transportation, water supplies, and wastewater conveyance/treatment – and often include flood and hurricane protection as a seventh system. Professor O’Rourke will discuss the impact on lifelines of the 1971 San Fernando earthquake, and show how this earthquake was the catalyst for the formation of lifeline earthquake engineering. The history of lifeline earthquake engineering will be summarized, including the formation of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Technical Council on Lifeline Earthquake Engineering, its contributions, and incorporation into the ASCE Infrastructure Resilience Division. The lifeline work of the American Lifelines Alliance, Applied Technology Council, Federal Emergency Management Administration, and National Institute of Standards and Technology will also be summarized. Lifeline earthquake activities in countries like Japan, Mexico, and New Zealand will be briefly examined. The evolution of lifeline earthquake engineering into lifeline engineering and its contributions to resilient infrastructure will be described.