Sustainability & Resiliency

What We DO: Resiliency Working Group

highway under waterFlood damage on I-29 between US 34 and Hamburg

Over the last couple of decades, Iowa has been increasingly impacted by natural disasters, including historic flooding, snowstorms, and tornados. This trend is likely to increase as climate data shows strong trends toward increasing temperatures, precipitation, streamflows, and flooding. Awareness of human-induced disruptions has amplified as the vigilance of potential terrorism and cyberattacks has increased. 

The Resiliency Working Group serves as a forum to discuss how we can more proactively respond to and recover from the many potential disruptions to our system.

What we strive to do

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The mission of the Resiliency Working Group is to properly prepare for and reduce the impact of future disruptions to Iowa’s transportation system, which is consistent with the department’s core focus of “making lives better through transportation.

Why Focus on Resiliency?

tire in snow icon This Resiliency Working Group has been created to ensure that, in the face of uncertainty caused by natural or man-made disruptions , the department will be ready to meet its commitment of providing a safe, efficient, and convenient transportation system.

Potential Disruptions to Iowa's Transportation System

Natural, environmental, and extreme weather events

  • Flooding
  • Erosion
  • High Wind
  • Increased precipitation (e.g., rain, snow, ice)
  • Landslide/ Rockfalls
  • Tornados
  • Snow/ Blizzard

Human-induced hazards

  • Averse actor physical threat
  • Congestion
  • Cyberattack
  • Asset failure

There are many ways in which resiliency of a system can be defined. We define resiliency as the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to and quickly recover from disruptions.

But, having a strict definition often disguises the fact that the concept of resiliency is complex and isn’t just one thing.

To more fully capture the essence of what a resilient system is, it is often characterized by the four properties listed below. A resilient transportation system is. . .


Strong icon Meaning the system is strong enough to withstand a given level of stress or demand without suffering degradation or loss of function.


two arros icon Meaning elements of a system exist that are substitutable and capable of satisfying the functional requirements of the system in the case of disruption.


gear icon Meaning there are resources (i.e., monetary, physical, technological, and informational) available that can be leveraged in the process of recovery.


quote icon Meaning there is capacity to meet priorities and achieve goals in a timely manner in order to contain losses, recover functionality, and avoid future disruption.


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  • Explore vulnerability assessments for various hazards for our transportation system and others.
  • Employ a programmatic method for implementing vulnerability or resiliency into the 5-year program.
  • Improve department cybersecurity.
  • Determine alternative routes for emergency closures.
  • Incorporate resiliency and climate change into planning and design of roadways roadsides, and vertical infrastructure.

For more information

For more information about the Iowa DOT Sustainability Working group, please contact Samuel Sturtz.


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