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

ASCE Resiliance

UCLA Samueli School of Engineering

Rachel Davidson's headshot

Rachel Davidson

Rachel Davidson, Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
Rachel Davidson is a Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, a core faculty member in the Disaster Research Center, and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Chief Diversity Advocate in the College of Engineering at the University of Delaware. She conducts research on natural disaster risk modeling and civil infrastructure systems. It focuses particularly on lifelines (e.g., electric power, water supply) and risk from a regional perspective; on earthquakes and hurricanes. She is a Fellow and Past-President of theSociety for Risk Analysis, recipient of the 2019 ASCE Charles Martin Duke Lifeline Earthquake Engineering award, and a Fellow of the Executive Leadership in Academic Technology and Engineering (ELATE) program.

Presentation: Integrating engineering risk analysis of lifelines with societal response to and implications of disruptions


Substantial research has been conducted to understand earthquake risk to critical infrastructure systems and to determine how best to manage it through improved component design, upgrades, and operations. Nevertheless, the ultimate goal of infrastructure systems—in fact, what makes them critical—is their role in societal functioning. Yet the way infrastructure system services meet societal needs, and the way disruptions of those services impair the ability to meet societal needs, are not well-understood. That is, the relationship between the system functioning and societal functioning remains ill-defined, where the former refers to the provision of the service (e.g., % customers receiving water or power) and the latter refers more generally to the ability of businesses to operate; emergency services to perform their duties; households to get to work and school; individuals to eat, drink, and bathe. As a result of this knowledge gap, the level of societal functioning achieved by existing infrastructure systems is not clear, and their design and management likely are not optimized to best meet societal needs. This presentation offers thoughts on why and how to address this gap. In particular, it focuses on how engineering analyses can be expanded and merged with an understanding of the ways users adapt to service interruptions and the implications of disruptions on them.