Rae Zimmerman

Research Professor and Professor Emerita of Planning and Public Administration

(212) 998-7432
The Puck Building
295 Lafayette Street
Room 3094
New York, NY 10012
By appointment
Rae Zimmerman

Rae Zimmerman is a Research Professor and Professor Emerita of Planning and Public Administration at New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Prior to that she was on the full-time faculty as Professor of Planning and Public Administration. Since 1998, she has held the role of Director of the Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems (ICIS), a center, initially funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for collaborative and interdisciplinary research, education, and outreach on infrastructure services. 

In 2011-2013 she directed Wagner’s Urban Planning Program for the fifth time. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, past president and Fellow of the international Society for Risk Analysis (SRA), and recipient of the SRA 2015 Outstanding Service Award.

Her teaching and research areas encompass environmental quality, environmental health risk management, and urban infrastructure in the context of the quality of life in cities. Some specific research and past teaching areas include social and environmental performance measures for the resiliency of urban infrastructure services in extreme events of both natural and human origins. Her work on these and other topics covers security and global climate change; complexities posed by interconnected infrastructures; the ability of institutions to cope with these stresses; public attitudes toward environmental protection; social and economic characteristics of communities facing environmental stresses; social justice; and risk communication in the context of unanticipated events. Courses she has developed and taught encompass how cities adapt to innovations in energy, transportation and water; environmental impact assessment; environmental planning; and emergency planning. Professor Zimmerman has directed over three dozen research projects as a principal investigator and she has been co-Principal Investigator or senior researcher for over a dozen others with federal funding from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (through three universities-NYU, the University of Southern California, and Dartmouth College), and various state and local agencies. Professor Zimmerman works closely with NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering on research and educational programs connected with infrastructure interdependencies and cyber threats to physical infrastructures.

She is the author of Transport, the Environment and Security (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2012), authored Governmental Management of Chemical Risk (Lewis/CRC), co-produced Beyond September 11th (University of Colorado at Boulder), and co-edited Digital Infrastructures (Routledge) and Sustaining Urban Networks (Routledge). Additionally, her publications have appeared in numerous edited books as well as journals from many disciplines including planning, environmental and public administration journals, for example, Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, Climatic Change, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Disaster Management, Energy Policy, the Fordham Urban Law Journal (forthcoming), the International Journal of Critical Infrastructure Protection, Journal of Applied Security Research, Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, the Journal of Extreme Events, the Journal of Infrastructure Systems (forthcoming), the Journal of Risk Research, the Journal of Urban Health, the Journal of Urban Technology,  the Policy Studies Journal, Public Administration Review, Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, Risk Analysis, Socioeconomic Planning Sciences, and Water Resources Research. Current advisory committee appointments include the Committee on Critical Transportation Infrastructure Protection (ABR10) of the Transportation Research Board, National Academies (chair of the Physical Security Subcommittee) appointment through 2020, and the NYC Panel on Climate Change. Previously she held numerous appointments to committees as member of the committee on Pathways to Urban Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities of the National Academies and other committees of the U.S. EPA, the National Academies, the City of New York and the State of New York. She serves on the Editorial Advisory Boards of Risk Analysis; the Journal of Risk Research; the Journal of Urban Technology; and the International Journal of Critical Infrastructures, and is a reviewer for over a dozen other journals. Education: B.A. in Chemistry from the University of California (Berkeley), a Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in planning from Columbia University. URL: http://wagner.nyu.edu/zimmerman


2015-2020 Senior faculty researcher (Principal Investigator for NYU), “Urban Resilience to Extreme Weather Related Events Sustainability Research Network (UREx SRN),” National Science Foundation (1444755) through Arizona State University. http://wagner.nyu.edu/news/newsStory/prof-rae-zimmerman-chosen-particip…

January 1- June 30, 2017. Co-Principal Investigator, “Dynamic Resiliency Modeling and Planning for Interdependent Critical Infrastructures,” funded by Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute (CIRI), U. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. CIRI is part of the Homeland Security Center of Excellence at the U. of Illinois funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

2015-2018 Co-Principal Investigator, Critical Resilient Interdependent Infrastructure Systems and Processes (CRISP) Type 1: Reductionist and Integrative Approaches to Improve the Resiliency of Multi-Scale Interdependent Critical Infrastructure, funded by the National Science Foundation (1541164).

2014-2017 Co-Principal Investigator, “Resilient Interdependent Infrastructure Processes and Systems (RIPS) Type I: A Meta-Network Systems Framework for Resilient Analysis and Design of Modern Interdependent Critical Infrastructures,” National Science Foundation (1441140).

2015-2017 Principal Investigator, “Public Transit and Mandatory Evacuations Prior to Extreme Weather Events in New York City,” U.S. Department of Transportation Region 2 Urban Transportation Research Center.

2014-2015 Principal Investigator, “Suburban Poverty, Public Transit, Economic Opportunities, and Social Mobility,” U.S. Department of Transportation, Region II Urban Transportation Research Center. Final report posted at: http://www.utrc2.org/sites/default/files/Final-Report-Surburban-Poverty…

2012-2014 Principal Investigator, “Promoting Transportation Flexibility in Extreme Events through Multi-Modal Connectivity,” U.S. Department of Transportation, Region II University Transportation Research Center.

2013-2014 Principal Investigator, “RAPID/Collaborative Research: Collection of Perishable Hurricane Sandy Data on Weather-Related Damage to Urban Power and Transit Infrastructure,” National Science Foundation (1316335), in collaboration with the U. of Washington (lead) and Louisiana State University.

2013-2015 Principal Investigator (NYU-Wagner) and researcher, New York State Resiliency Institute for Storms & Emergencies (NYS RISE), funded by New York State (NYU-Poly and Stony Brook University, leads). 

This course provides students with the capacity to develop planning and public service approaches to understand, diagnose and address causes, consequences, and mitigation and adaptation measures for a variety of emergencies and disasters. These events include natural hazards, accidents, terrorism and other extreme events with often devastating impacts on social structures and the built and natural environments. To address these issues, the course draws upon environmental and land use planning, the spatial representation of hazard areas, hazard index construction, and statistical analysis of databases and risk management to gain an understanding of, reduce, respond, and adapt to disaster consequences. Students will learn effective resource allocation strategies, social justice policies, and innovative technological, environmental and social approaches for disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. The course also includes knowledge of social and individual behaviors that are a foundation for understanding how people act in disasters. Students will have the opportunity in some cases to meet professionals in emergency planning and response fields in public services, social and health services, security, and the environment.

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The future has just begun: we can proactively change the way energy, water and transportation are provided to urban communities and transform our infrastructure in response to the challenges of climate change, social inequality and resource scarcity. Our cities were built on a foundation that never imagined the changes in the physical and political environment that we currently face, but new technology and innovative planning approaches offer the potential to fundamentally improve urban infrastructure. Today, these innovations are helping energize social and environmental movements and are slowly, if steadily, being included into standard business practice globally. This course will explore how these new technologies and planning strategies can be further incorporated into our current and future urban environment, encourage the transformation of individual behavior, promote environmental protection, and reinforce the stability of essential services across the urban landscape. We will explore how these innovations can lead to neighborhoods and communities that conserve resources, promote environmental benefits, and adapt to the risks of climate change. In this course, students will learn to evaluate performance characteristics, resource demands, and the comparative impact of these innovations relative to conventional infrastructure. The course focuses on how combining strategies for smart growth, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and innovative alternatives for energy, water and transportation can lead to greener, more sustainable cities.

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This course provides students with the capacity to develop planning and public service approaches to understand, diagnose and address causes, consequences, and mitigation and adaptation measures for a variety of emergencies and disasters. These events include natural hazards, accidents, terrorism and other extreme events with often devastating impacts on social structures and the built and natural environments. To address these issues, the course draws upon environmental and land use planning, the spatial representation of hazard areas, hazard index construction, and statistical analysis of databases and risk management to gain an understanding of, reduce, respond, and adapt to disaster consequences. Students will learn effective resource allocation strategies, social justice policies, and innovative technological, environmental and social approaches for disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. The course also includes knowledge of social and individual behaviors that are a foundation for understanding how people act in disasters. Students will have the opportunity in some cases to meet professionals in emergency planning and response fields in public services, social and health services, security, and the environment.

Download Syllabus


Rae Zimmerman, Quanyan Zhu, Carolyn Dimitri. A network framework for dynamic models of urban food, energy and water systems (FEWS). Vol. 37. pp. 122-131.


Rae Zimmerman, Quanyan Zhu, Francisco De Leon, Zhan Guo. Conceptual modeling framework to integrate resilient and interdependent infrastructure in extreme weather. Vol. 23.
P.J. Marcotullio, A. Sarzynski, J. Sperling, A. Chavez, H. Estiri, M. Pathak, Rae Zimmerman. Chapter 12: “Energy Transformation in Cities”. Climate Change and Cities.
Rae Zimmerman, C.E. Restrepo, R.A. Joseph , L. Llopis. Newsletter: A New Role for Rail Transit: Evacuation (#109).
Rae Zimmerman. The Transit-Jobs Nexus: Insights for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD). Vol. XLIV.
Rae Zimmerman. Effective Public Service Communication Networks for Climate Change Adaptation. Climate Change Adaptation in North America.
Rae Zimmerman, M. Dinning. Benefits and Needs for an Integrated Approach to Cyber-Physical Security for Transportation.
Rae Zimmerman. Financing sustainable infrastructure: Reconciling disaster and traditional financial resources. International Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure 2017. pp. 176-187.


R. Zimmerman. Resilient Urban Infrastructure for Adapting to Environmental Disruptions. Chapter 32 in Handbook on Urbanization and Global Environmental Change, edited by K. C. Seto, W. D. Solecki, and C. A. Griffith, London, UK: Routledge, pp. 488-512. ISBN 978-0-415-73226-0.
R. Zimmerman, Q. Zhu and C. Dimitri. Promoting Resilience for Food, Energy and Water Interdependencies. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Vol. 6, Issue 1, pp. 50-61. DOI: 10.1007/s13412-016-0362-0
Rae Zimmerman, C. Rosenzweig, W. Solecki, P. Romero-Lankao, S. Mehrotra, S. Dhakal, T. Bowman, and S. Ali Ibrahim. Energy Transformations in Cities. (December 2015) ARC3.2 Summary for City Leaders. Urban Climate Change Research Network. Columbia University. New York, pp. 14-15.
R. Zimmerman, C.E. Restrepo, J. Sellers, A. Amirapu, T. R. Pearson, and Hannah B. Kates. Multi-Modal Transit Connectivity for Flexibility in Extreme Events. Transportation Research Record (Journal of the Transportation Research Board), No. 2532, pp. 64-73, 2015. DOI: 10.3141/2532-08.


R. Zimmerman. Strategies and Considerations for Investing in Sustainable City Infrastructure. Chapter 7 in The Elgar Companion to Sustainable Cities: Strategies, Methods and Outlook, edited by D. Mazmanian and H. Blanco, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, Ltd.

Extreme events of all kinds are increasing in number, severity, or impacts. Transportation provides a vital support service for people in such circumstances in the short-term for evacuation and providing supplies where evacuation is not undertaken, yet, transportation services are often disabled in disasters. Nationwide and in New York and New Jersey record-setting weather disasters have occurred and are expected to continue. Disadvantaged populations are particularly vulnerable. Network theories provide insights into vulnerability and directions for adaptation by defining interconnections, such as multi-modality. Multi-modal connectivity provides passenger flexibility and reduces risks in extreme events, and these benefits are evaluated in the NY area. Focusing on public transit, selected passenger multimodal facilities are identified that connect to transit, emphasizing rail-bus connectivity. Publicly available databases are used from MTA, NJ rail, and U.S. DOT’s IPCD. For NYC, statistical analyses suggest there may be some differences by poverty levels. For NYC and three northeastern NJ cities connectivity differs for stations that are terminuses and have high rail convergence. This report provides statistical summaries, cases, and a literature review to characterize multi-modal facilities and their use in extreme events. Recommendations and future research directions are provided for the role of passenger multi-modality to enhance transit flexibility.

The research was funded by a faculty research grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Region 2 University Transportation Research Center to NYU-Wagner, 2012-2014.


Safety, Reliability, Risk and Life-Cycle Performance of Structures and Infrastructures contains the plenary lectures and papers presented at the 11th International Conference on STRUCTURAL SAFETY AND RELIABILITY (ICOSSAR2013, New York, NY, USA, 16-20 June 2013), and covers major aspects of safety, reliability, risk and life-cycle performance of structures and infrastructures, with special focus on advanced technologies, analytical and computational methods of risk analysis, probability-based design and regulations, smart systems and materials, life-cycle cost analysis, damage assessment, social aspects, urban planning, and industrial applications. Emerging concepts as well as state-of-the-art and novel applications of reliability principles in all types of structural systems and mechanical components are included. Civil, marine, mechanical, transportation, nuclear and aerospace applications are discussed.
The unique knowledge, ideas and insights make this set of a book of abstracts and searchable, full paper USBdevice must-have literature for researchers and practitioners involved with safety, reliability, risk and life-cycle performance of structures and infrastructures.



Although now a growing and respectable research field, crisis management—as a formal area of study—is relatively young, having emerged since the 1980s following a succession of such calamities as the Bhopal gas leak, Chernobyl nuclear accident, Space Shuttle Challenger loss, and Exxon Valdez oil spill. Analysis of organizational failures that caused such events helped drive the emerging field of crisis management. Simultaneously, the world has experienced a number of devastating natural disasters: Hurricane Katrina, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, etc. From such crises, both human-induced and natural, we have learned our modern, tightly interconnected and interdependent society is simply more vulnerable to disruption than in the past. This interconnectedness is made possible in part by crisis management and increases our reliance upon it. As such, crisis management is as beneficial and crucial today as information technology has become over the last few decades.

Crisis is varied and unavoidable. While the examples highlighted above were extreme, we see crisis every day within organizations, governments, businesses and the economy. A true crisis differs from a “routine” emergency, such as a water pipe bursting in the kitchen. Per one definition, “it is associated with urgent, high-stakes challenges in which the outcomes can vary widely (and are very negative at one end of the spectrum) and will depend on the actions taken by those involved.” Successfully engaging, dealing with, and working through a crisis requires an understanding of options and tools for individual and joint decision making. Our Encyclopedia of Crisis Management comprehensively overviews concepts and techniques for effectively assessing, analyzing, managing, and resolving crises, whether they be organizational, business, community, or political. From general theories and concepts exploring the meaning and causes of crisis to practical strategies and techniques relevant to crises of specific types, crisis management is thoroughly explored.



Effective means of transport are critical under both normal and extreme conditions, but modern transport systems are subject to many diverse demands. This path-breaking book uniquely draws together the typically conflicting arenas of transport, the environment and security, and provides collective solutions to their respective issues and challenges.

From a primarily urban perspective, the author illustrates that the fields of transportation, environment (with an emphasis on climate change) and security (for both natural hazards and terrorism) and their interconnections remain robust areas for policy and planning. Synthesizing existing data, new analyses, and a rich set of case studies, the book uses transportation networks as a framework to explore transportation in conjunction with environment, security, and interdependencies with other infrastructure sectors. The US rail transit system, ecological corridors, cyber security, planning mechanisms and the effectiveness of technologies are among the topics explored in detail. Case studies of severe and potential impacts of natural hazards, accidents, and security breaches on transportation are presented. These cases support the analyses of the forces on transportation, land use and patterns of population change that connect, disconnect and reconnect people from their environment and security.

The book will prove a fascinating and insightful read for academics, students, and practitioners across a wide range of fields including: transport, environmental economics, environmental management, urban planning, public policy, and terrorism and security.


Air pollution is considered a risk factor for asthma. In this paper, we analyze the association between daily hospital admissions for asthma and ambient air pollution concentrations in four New York City counties. Negative binomial regression is used to model the association between daily asthma hospital admissions and ambient air pollution concentrations. Potential confounding factors such as heat index, day of week, holidays, yearly population changes, and seasonal and long-term trends are controlled for in the models. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) show the most consistent statistically significant associations with daily hospitalizations for asthma during the entire period (1996-2000). The associations are stronger for children (0 - 17 years) than for adults (18 - 64 years). Relative risks (RR) for the inter-quartile range (IQR) of same day 24-hour average pollutant concentration and asthma hospitalizations for children for the four county hospitalization totals were: NO2 (IQR = 0.011 ppm, RR = 1.017, 95% CI = 1.001, 1.034), SO2 (IQR = 0.008 ppm, RR = 1.023, 95% CI = 1.004, 1.042), CO (IQR = 0.232 ppm, RR = 1.014, 95% CI = 1.003, 1.025). In the case of ozone (O3) and particulate matter (PM2.5) statistically significant associations were found for daily one-hour maxima values and children’s asthma hospitalization in models that used lagged values for air pollution concentrations. Five-day weighted average lag models resulted in these estimates: O3 (one-hour maxima) (IQR = 0.025 ppm, RR = 1.049, 95% CI = 1.002, 1.098), PM2.5 (one-hour maxima) (IQR = 16.679 μg/m3, RR = 1.055, 95% CI = 1.008, 1.103). In addition, seasonal variations were also explored for PM2.5 and statistically significant associations with daily hospital admissions for asthma were found during the colder months (November-March) of the year. Important differences in pollution effects were found across pollutants, counties, and age groups. The results for PM2.5 suggest that the composition of PM is important to this health outcome, since the major sources of NYC PM differ between winter and summer months.


S. Mehrotra (Nairobi, Mexico City), B. Lefevre (Paris), R. Zimmerman (New York City, Coordinating Lead Authors and H. Gercek, K. Jacob, and S. Srinivasan.. Climate Change and Urban Transportation Systems. in Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN), First UCCRN Assessment Report on Climate Change in Cities (ARC3), edited by C. Rosenzweig, W. D. Solecki, S. A. Hammer, and S. Mehrotra. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2011, forthcoming, pp. 143- 182.

Public and private decision-makers continue to seek risk-based approaches to allocate funds to help communities respond to disasters, accidents, and terrorist attacks involving critical infrastructure facilities. The requirements for emergency response capability depend both upon risks within a region's jurisdiction and mutual aid agreements that have been made with other regions. In general, regions in close proximity to infrastructure would benefit more from resources to improve preparedness because there is a greater potential for an event requiring emergency response to occur if there are more facilities at which such events could occur. Thus, a potentially important input into decisions about allocating funds for security is the proximity of a community to high concentrations of infrastructure systems that potentially could be at risk to an industrial accident, natural disaster, or terrorist attack. In this paper, we describe a methodology for measuring a region's exposure to infrastructure-related risks that captures both a community's concentration of facilities or sites considered to be vulnerable and of the proximity of these facilities to surrounding infrastructure systems. These measures are based on smoothing-based nonparametric probability density estimators, which are then used to estimate the probability of the entire infrastructure occurring within any specified distance of facilities in a county. The set of facilities used in the paper to illustrate the use of this methodology consists of facilities identified as vulnerable through the California Buffer Zone Protection Program. For infrastructure in surrounding areas we use dams judged to be high hazards, and BART tracks. The results show that the methodology provides information about patterns of critical infrastructure in regions that is relevant for decisions about how to allocate terrorism security and emergency preparedness resources.

M. Barata (Rio de Janeiro), E. Ligeti (Toronto), Coordinating Lead Authors and G. De Simone (Rio de Janeiro), T. Dickinson (Toronto), D. Jack (New York City), J. Penney (Toronto), M. Rahman (Dhaka), and R. Zimmerman (New York City.). Climate Change and Human Health in Cities. in Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN), First UCCRN Assessment Report on Climate Change in Cities (ARC3), edited by C. Rosenzweig, W. D. Solecki, S. A. Hammer, and S. Mehrotra. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2011, forthcoming, pp. 183-217

While current rates of sea level rise and associated coastal flooding in the New York City region appear to be manageable by stakeholders responsible for communications, energy, transportation, and water infrastructure, projections for sea level rise and associated flooding in the future, especially those associated with rapid icemelt of the Greenland and West Antarctic Icesheets, may be outside the range of current capacity because extreme events might cause flooding beyond today's planning and preparedness regimes. This paper describes the comprehensive process, approach, and tools for adaptation developed by the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC) in conjunction with the region's stakeholders who manage its critical infrastructure, much of which lies near the coast. It presents the adaptation framework and the sea-level rise and storm projections related to coastal risks developed through the stakeholder process. Climate change adaptation planning in New York City is characterized by a multi-jurisdictional stakeholder-scientist process, state-of-the-art scientific projections and mapping, and development of adaptation strategies based on a risk-management approach.


Climate change mitigation and adaptation action plans are developing at a rapid pace, being driven by both local initiatives and emerging alliances and support organizations that cut across multiple jurisdictions. These plans include a broad range of approaches, many of which are evolving into best or leading practices and which will be increasingly used as a model for the plans of other locales. This paper draws attention to several best practices in both mitigation and adaptation for North American cities, and also highlights many of the supporting alliances and groups that disseminate key practices and drive potential synergies. Additionally, it is noted that despite the increasing rate of plan development, a continuing need exists for increased attention to adaptation at the local level.


How people leave a devastated area after a disaster is critical to understanding their ability to cope with risks they face while evacuating. Knowledge of their needs for communications about these risks is particularly crucial in planning for emergency responses. A convenience sample of 1,444 persons who survived the World Trade Center (WTC) attacks on September 11, 2001 were surveyed to ascertain their initial and ultimate destinations once they had left the buildings, how they arrived there, the role of types of obstacles they encountered, and the need for information and the seeking of other people as potential factors in influencing the process of leaving immediately. This survey was part of a larger, original survey. Results showed differences in how people traveled by mode to initial and ultimate destinations, how immediately they left the area, and factors associated with when they left. How they traveled and when they left were associated with where people lived, their tendency in times of stress to seek out other people including who they knew in the immediate area (e.g., co-workers or friends), the physical conditions surrounding them, and the importance to some of waiting for more information. Many people indicated they did not leave immediately because they had no information about where to go or what services would be available to them. Perceptions and communications about risks they were facing were reflected in the choices they considered in how and when to leave the area. These findings have numerous ramifications for understanding and guiding personal behavior in catastrophic situations.

J.S. Simonoff, C.E. Restrepo, and R. Zimmerman.. Current Risk Management Issues for Hazardous Liquids and Natural Gas Pipeline Infrastructure.

Disasters from terrorism, natural hazards and accidents are now becoming commonplace and may be increasing as a major threat against the viability of transportation infrastructure and the invaluable social services it provides. The paper first sets forth the nature of the threats and hazards transportation infrastructure faces. This provides the foundation for understanding the need to develop an integrated and common set of solutions that incorporates co-benefits to solve more than one problem at the same time, that is, simultaneously for different kinds of hazards, different types of infrastructures, and infrastructures that affect or have interdependencies with transportation. Types of funding sources and innovative technologies that are becoming available to support protection and recovery are discussed in terms of their ability to integrate multiple hazards and address areas of need.


Focus group methods are adapted here to address two important needs for risk communication: (1) to provide approaches to risk communication in very extreme and catastrophic events, and (2) to obtain risk communication content within the specific catastrophe area of chemical and biological attacks. Focus groups were designed and conducted according to well-established protocols using hypothetical sarin and smallpox attacks resulting in a chemical or biological release in a confined public space in a transit system. These cases were used to identify content for risk communication information and suggest directions for further research in this area. Common procedures for conducting focus groups were used based on an initial review of such procedures. Four focus groups - two for each type of release - each lasted about two hours. Participants were professionals normally involved in emergencies in health, emergency management, and transportation. They were selected using a snowball sampling technique. Examples of findings for approaches to communicating such risks included how information should be organized over time and how space, locations, and places should be defined for releases to anchor perceptions geographically. Examples of findings for risk communication content are based on how professionals reacted to risk communications used during the two hypothetical releases they were presented with and how they suggested using risk communications. These findings have considerable implications for using and structuring focus groups to derive risk communication procedures and types of content to be used in the context of catastrophes.


Creating an overall climate change adaptation strategy for urban infrastructure poses considerable conceptual and operational challenges. An understanding of the characteristics of a city's infrastructure that make it particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change is a critical foundation for understanding the severity of the impacts and the means for adaptation. Historical events that have compromised a city's infrastructure under conditions similar to those associated with climate change also provide information about what a city might expect in the way of consequences from a future of increased temperatures, precipitation, and sea level rise. This chapter explores the challenges to climate change adaptation in major urban infrastructure sectors with a focus on New York City, draws lessons from adaptation efforts under way in other large metropolitan regions, and discusses the role of the private sector in urban adaptation.


Zimmerman, R. & Simonoff, J.S.. Transportation Density and Opportunities for Expediting Recovery to Promote Security. Journal of Applied Security Research, Vol. 4, No. 1.
Simonoff, J.S., Restrepo, C.E. & Zimmerman, R.. Risk Management of Cost Consequences in Natural Gas Transmission and Distribution Infrastructures. Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, Vol. 23
Greenberg, M. & Zimmerman, R.. Distribution of Federal Anti-Terrorism Funds in the United States: a Comparison of Data-Driven Approaches Based on Electric Power Generation. Terrorism Issues: Threat Assessment, Consequences and Prevention. Edited by F. Columbus. Hauppauge. NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

In this paper the causes and consequences of accidents in US hazardous liquid pipelines that result in the unplanned release of hazardous liquids are examined. Understanding how different causes of accidents are associated with consequence measures can provide important inputs into risk management for this (and other) critical infrastructure systems. Data on 1582 accidents related to hazardous liquid pipelines for the period 2002–2005 are analyzed. The data were obtained from the US Department of Transportation’s Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS). Of the 25 different causes of accidents included in the data the most common ones are equipment malfunction, corrosion, material and weld failures, and incorrect operation. This paper focuses on one type of consequence–various costs associated with these pipeline accidents–and causes associated with them. The following economic consequence measures related to accident cost are examined: the value of the product lost; public, private, and operator property damage; and cleanup, recovery, and other costs. Logistic regression modeling is used to determine what factors are associated with nonzero product loss cost, nonzero property damage cost and nonzero cleanup and recovery costs. The factors examined include the system part involved in the accident, location characteristics (offshore versus onshore location, occurrence in a high consequence area), and whether there was liquid ignition, an explosion, and/or a liquid spill. For the accidents associated with nonzero values for these consequence measures (weighted) least squares regression is used to understand the factors related to them, as well as how the different initiating causes of the accidents are associated with the consequence measures. The results of these models are then used to construct illustrative scenarios for hazardous liquid pipeline accidents. These scenarios suggest that the magnitude of consequence measures such as value of product lost, property damage and cleanup and recovery costs are highly dependent on accident cause and other accident characteristics. The regression models used to construct these scenarios constitute an analytical tool that industry decision-makers can use to estimate the possible consequences of accidents in these pipeline systems by cause (and other characteristics) and to allocate resources for maintenance and to reduce risk factors in these systems.



Quantitative risk assessment is a growing, important component of the larger field of risk assessment. The need to understand the risks of an activity, be it economic, environmental, public health/biomedical, or even based on terrorist or other hazardous impacts, has led to a number of methods of analysis for many different application scenarios. Indeed, all major areas of the larger endeavor - hazard identification, dose-response assessment, exposure assessment, and risk characterization - rely on and benefit from quantitative operations. Within these contexts, enhanced understanding of both the variability and the uncertainty inherent in the risk identification process is critically dependent upon proper implementation of appropriate statistical methodologies.


This article describes the results of applying a rigorous computational model to the problem of the optimal defensive resource allocation among potential terrorist targets. In particular, our study explores how the optimal budget allocation depends on the cost effectiveness of security investments, the defender's valuations of the various targets, and the extent of the defender's uncertainty about the attacker's target valuations. We use expected property damage, expected fatalities, and two metrics of critical infrastructure (airports and bridges) as our measures of target attractiveness. Our results show that the cost effectiveness of security investment has a large impact on the optimal budget allocation. Also, different measures of target attractiveness yield different optimal budget allocations, emphasizing the importance of developing more realistic terrorist objective functions for use in budget allocation decisions for homeland security.


The South Bronx, New York, has one of the highest asthma rates among school-age children in the United States. Since children spend significant parts of their day at school, an understanding of where schools are located in relation to environmental health hazards that can potentially affect asthma can provide important information for making
decisions related to urban land-use planning and environmental policy. GIS provides communities with an important tool for leveraging data for policymaking efforts and improving policy makers' understanding of how different land uses might affect public health.

Zimmerman, R.. Managing Infrastructure Resiliency, Safety and Security. Encyclopedia of Quantitative Risk Assessment. Edited by B. Everitt and E. Melnick. John Wiley Publishers. New York, NY.  
Zimmerman, R., Restrepo, C. & Simonoff, J.S.. Infrastructure Disruptions and Recovery Rates in Disasters. ASCE Metropolitan Section Infrastructure Group Technical Seminar "New York City Infrastructure Critical Needs," Polytechnic University, March 24-25, pp. 28-35.

This paper examines the spatial and temporal distribution of failures in three critical infrastructure systems in the United States: the electrical power grid, hazardous liquids (including oil) pipelines, and natural gas pipelines. The analyses are carried out at the state level, though the analytical frameworks are applicable to other geographic areas and infrastructure types. The paper also discusses how understanding the spatial distribution of these failures can be used as an input into risk management policies to improve the performance of these systems, as well as for security and natural hazards mitigation.



In this paper we analyze vulnerability of the elderly during natural hazard events at the macro level using the geographical distribution of the U.S. elderly population at the county level. The elderly population is defined as persons aged 65 years or older. We use data from the Spatial Hazard Events and Losses Database to identify counties with high frequencies of natural hazards events, such as hurricanes, from 1995 to 2005 and we identify characteristics of the elderly population in those counties. This analysis can be extended to other natural hazards. Future work will use regression modeling to incorporate socioeconomic variables such as poverty, race, and ethnicity to identify elderly populations that may be particularly vulnerable to natural hazards to be used as a guide for managing risks to vulnerable populations.


Incident data about disruptions to the electric power grid provide useful information that can be used as inputs into risk management policies in the energy sector for disruptions from a variety of origins, including terrorist attacks. This article uses data from the Disturbance Analysis Working Group (DAWG) database, which is maintained by the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC), to look at incidents over time in the United States and Canada for the period 1990-2004. Negative binomial regression, logistic regression, and weighted least squares regression are used to gain a better understanding of how these disturbances varied over time and by season during this period, and to analyze how characteristics such as number of customers lost and outage duration are related to different characteristics of the outages. The results of the models can be used as inputs to construct various scenarios to estimate potential outcomes of electric power outages, encompassing the risks, consequences, and costs of such outages.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines environmental justice as "...the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies."2 Environmental injustice has been defined as the disproportionate exposure of communities of color and poor people, or other vulnerable groups, such as children and the elderly, to environmental risks.3

In the analyses described in this article, Geographic Information Systems (GIS)4 techniques and models were used extensively to facilitate and streamline the analysis of demographic and socioeconomic data about people living in close proximity to waste transfer stations and major highways, and to determine whether a disproportionate number of people in communities of color and poor people live in proximity to these sites. The area of application for this analysis was a portion of the South Bronx, New York.



Catastrophic events are an ongoing part of life, affecting society both locally and globally. Recruitment, development, and retention of volunteers who offer their knowledge and skills in the event of a disaster are essential to ensuring a functional workforce during catastrophes. These opportunities also address the inherent need for individuals to feel necessary and useful in times of crisis. Universities are a particularly important setting for voluntary action, given that they are based in communities and have access to resources and capabilities to bring to bear on an emergency situation.

The purpose of the study was to discern how one large private organization might participate and respond in the case of a large scale disaster. Using a 2-phase random sample survey, 337 unique respondents (5.7%) out of a sample of 6000 replied to the survey. These data indicate that volunteers in a private organization are willing to assist in disasters and have skills that can be useful in disaster mitigation.

Much is to be learned related to the deployment of volunteers during disaster. These findings suggest that volunteers can and will help and that disaster preparedness drills are a logical next step for university-based volunteers.



As suggested by the title, this is a collection of essays on the economic effects of successful terrorist attacks focusing on the electrical transmission, and transportation infrastructure of the United States. Those familiar with the literature on the economic effects of natural disasters will
find the arguments and economic models quite familiar. The individual essays are by leading experts who do not necessarily agree on the most appropriate methods or policy conclusions. This provides a refreshing measure of potential controversy.



As a critical infrastructure sector, electricity enables numerous other critical infrastructures to function, and in many cases is the critical path for their operation. This is underscored by the fact that historically, electric power outages have played a central role in disruptions of many other infrastructures. As a consequence of the centrality of its role, electricity is potentially a key target for terrorist attacks. This case sets forth risks in terms of hypothetical alternative attack scenarios in the form of various grid configurations that are vulnerable based on both natural events in the U.S. and terrorism internationally as well as in terms of the odds that outages will occur and other characteristics of outages will change. Consequences are then identified based on hundreds of events and other records that portray the effects that electric power outages have on key public services and businesses. Economic accounting is conducted in terms of human premature death and injury and business loss for some of the key consequence areas, using a wide range of economic factors.


The major economic effects of electric power outages are usually associated with three potential outcomes: the loss of human life and health; business losses; and declines in property value (some of which are encompassed within business losses). This report sets forth economic factors for quantifying the cost of loss of human life and injuries and business losses (including those to critical infrastructure that supports social and economic activity) as a basis for accounting for the economic outcomes of terrorist attacks. Although they have been developed for estimating effects of attacks on electric power, these factors are broadly applicable to other kinds of attacks involving deaths, injury or business loss. A variety of alternative measures and values are presented to enable users flexibility in how they are applied. This report is intended to accompany the "Electricity Case: Main Report - Risk, Consequences, and Economic Accounting" (May 31, 2005).


Although direct terrorist attacks on the oil and gas sector have not occurred in the United States, there are many recorded attacks on the sector in a large number of countries around the world. The statistical analysis and other evaluations of these data provide an important foundation for identifying case events that can be selected for an in-depth evaluation of the role of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) in the disabling and rate of recovery of the oil and gas system. This report analyzes international terrorist attacks using a database from the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT) which includes information about terrorist attacks from all over the world affecting all sectors, including oil and gas. The report looks at annual data for the period 1990-2005 with a special emphasis on attacks occurring in countries with the highest number of attacks during this period. Section 1 provides an introduction to the report. Section 2 looks at the number of incidents, including total incidents over time, attacks on the oil and gas sector as a percentage of total terrorist attacks, and incidents over time by geographical region. In Section 3 the number of fatalities associated with the attacks is examined, along with the fatalities associated with attacks on the oil and gas sector as a percentage of all fatalities associated with terrorist attacks. Section 4 looks at injuries associated with the attacks, and the injuries associated with attacks on the oil and gas sector as a percentage of all injuries associated with terrorist attacks. Section 5 provides a brief discussion about the association between injuries and fatalities. Section 6 contains a discussion of the kinds of components attacked. Finally, Section 7 ends with some concluding remarks. Although the terrorist attacks on the oil and gas sector are a relatively small proportion of terrorist attacks overall, the data show that a significant number of attacks have occurred over the period 1990-2005, suggesting that the sector is vulnerable. If terrorist groups feel that carrying out a physical attack within the United States is too difficult they could turn their attention to other vulnerabilities such as SCADA systems.


Taking sustainability in its triple economic, environmental and social dimensions, the contributors take stock of previous research on large technical systems and discuss their sustainability from three main perspectives: uses, cities, rules/institutions.



Digital Infrastructures presents an interdisciplinary analysis of the technological systems that envelop these networks. The book balances analyses of specific civil and environmental infrastructures with broader policy and management issues, including the challenges of using IT to manage these critical systems under crisis conditions. Digital Infrastructures addresses not only the technological dimension but importantly, how social, organizational and environmental forces affect how IT can be used to manage water, power, transport and telecommunication systems.


The South Bronx is a low-income, minority community in New York City. It has one of the highest asthma rates in the country, which community residents feel is related to poor air quality. Community residents also feel that the air quality data provided by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) through its network of monitoring stations do not reflect the poor quality of the air they breathe. This is due to the fact that these monitoring stations are located 15 m above ground. In the year 2001 this project collected air quality data at three locations in the study area. They were collected close to ground-level at a height of 4 m by a mobile laboratory placed in a van as part of the South Bronx Environmental Health and Policy Study. This paper compares data collected by the project with data from DEC's monitoring stations in Bronx County during the same periods. The goal of the comparison is to gain a better understanding of differences in measured air quality concentrations at these different heights. Although there is good agreement in the data among DEC stations there are some important differences between ground-level measurements and DEC data. For PM2.5 the measured concentrations by the van were similar to those recorded by DEC stations. In the case of ozone, the concentrations recorded at ground level were similar or lower than those recorded by DEC stations. For NO2, however, the concentrations recorded at ground level were over twice as high as those recorded by DEC. In the case of SO2, ground level measurements were substantially higher in August but very similar in the other two periods. CO concentrations measured at ground-level tend to be 60–90% higher than those recorded by DEC monitoring stations. Despite these differences, van measurements of SO2 and CO concentrations were well below EPA standards.



The dramatic growth in the development and use of information technology (IT) has had an untold impact upon the nature and performance of the fundamental infrastructure systems that support our economy and social environment. The use of IT is no doubt already pervasive in these infrastructure systems from design and planning through operations and maintenance. IT has the potential to address many of the quality issues that infrastructure has faced, by providing detection capability for infrastructure condition, coordination of complex operations, and integration of multi-modal and multi-locational facilities to provide seamless services to consumers. Still to be understood are not only the opportunities IT provides (for example, in terms of improved performance) but also the barriers to its use (for example, in terms of IT and infrastructure compatibility). Moreover, little is known about how IT influences infrastructure and the social systems it supports. This white paper provides a background for the development of a research agenda that addresses both interrelationships between IT and infrastructure and its impacts ranging from infrastructure operations to social systems.



Better Environmental Decisions responds to the need for improved environmental decision making by bringing together leading scholars and practitioners to provide a comprehensive interdisciplinary introduction to the subject. Each chapter describes an important aspect of environmental decision making; identifies key issues, problems, and barriers; and recommends ways to improve both the process and the final result.


Natural Disaster Management was produced to mark the end of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR), a United Nations initiative to reduce the negative effects of natural disasters. Natural Disaster Management communicates solutions to the problems associated with natural disasters, stimulating discussion and improvements in methods of protecting people and property. The volume includes contributions from over 100 experts in hazard observation and helps to raise the profile of the IDNDR initiative, bringing issues concerning natural disaster management to a wider audience.


This paper investigates the effects of information from different sources on farmers' attitudes regarding the effects of pesticides and other agricultural chemicals on environmental quality using a survey of 2700 farmers in three mid-Atlantic states. Farmers' beliefs are similar to those of the general public on average, but are distributed more uniformly, suggesting that the farm community may be more polarized on environmental issues than the general public. Farmers regard first-hand sources of information such as direct field observation and pesticide labels as being the most important. Chemical dealers and extension rank next in importance. Farmers who attached greater importance to information from news media and extension expressed greater environmental concern. Farmers who found information from chemical dealers more important expressed greater concern about injury to wildlife and pesticides in drinking water but less concern about general environmental quality problems associated with agricultural chemicals.


The effectiveness of current groundwater protection policies depends largely on farmers' voluntary compliance with leaching reduction measures, an important component of which is their willingness to adopt costlier production practices in order to prevent leaching of chemicals. Data from an original survey of 1611 corn and soybean growers in the mid-Atlantic region were used to estimate farmers' willingness to pay to prevent leaching of pesticides into groundwater. The results indicate that farmers are willing to pay more for leaching prevention than nonfarm groundwater consumers, both absolutely and relative to total income. The primary motivation appears to be concern for overall environmental quality rather than protection of drinking water or the health and safety of themselves and their families. Hobby farmers are willing to pay more than farmers with commercial activity. Certified pesticide applicators are willing to pay less than farmers without certification.

Bier, V.M., Haimes, Y.Y., Lambert, J.H., Matalas, N.C. & Zimmerman, R.. Assessing and Managing Risks of Extremes. Risk Analysis: An International Journal, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 83-94.

Water pollution from agricultural pesticides continues to be a public concern. Given that the use of such pesticides on the farm is largely governed by voluntary behavior, it is important to understand what drives farmer behavior. Health belief models in public health and social psychology argue that persons who have adverse health experiences are likely to undertake preventive behavior. An analogous hypothesis set was tested here: farmers who believe they have had adverse health experiences from pesticides are likely to have heightened concerns about pesticides and are more likely to take greater precautions in dealing with pesticides. This work is based on an original survey of a population of 2700 corn and soybean growers in Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania using the U.S. Department of Agriculture data base. It was designed as a mail survey with telephone follow-up, and resulted in a 60 percent response rate. Farm operators report experiencing adverse health problems they believe are associated with pesticides that is equivalent to an incidence rate that is higher than the reported incidence of occupational pesticide poisonings, but similar to the reported incidence of all pesticide poisonings. Farmers who report experiencing such problems have more heightened concerns about water pollution from fertilizers and pesticides, and illness and injury from mixing, loading, and applying pesticides than farmers who have not experienced such problems. Farmers who report experiencing such problems also are more likely to report using alternative pest management practices than farmers who do not report having such problems. This implies that farmers who have had such experiences do care about the effects of application and do engage in alternative means of pest management, which at least involve the reduction in pesticide use.



The infrastructure of the Metro East Coast region (MEC, with New York City at its core) is the largest, oldest, densest, and busiest in the nation. It serves some 20 million people and built assets exceed $1 trillion. Currently there is considerable stress on the system with key problems identified as: undercapacity, underinvestment, inconsistent management suburban sprawl, and lack of long-term integrated region-wide planning. These problems are exacerbated by fragmentation of governance across competing jurisdictions. Unclear funding mechanisms, spotty economic performance, and deferred infrastructure maintenance are severe stress factors. Spatial and functional inter-connectedness between different types of infrastructure allows failures to cascade through the system - at times even shutting down substantial segments, all at a high societal cost. A special problem is lack of a farsighted solid waste management strategy. Despite these severe stresses, the system somehow manages to deliver essential services to a large population.


Zimmerman, R.. Interdisciplinary Approaches to Safety and Risk in Urban Infrastructure Systems. Probabilistic Safety Assessment and Management, edited by A. Mosleh and R.A. Bari. London: Springer-Verlag, Vol. 4, pp. 2553-2558.
Zimmerman, R.. Historical and Future Perspectives on Risk Perception and Communication. Risk Research and Management in Asian Perspective. Proceedings of the First China-Japan Conference on Risk Assessment and Management, Nov. 23-26, Beijing China. Edited by Beijing Normal University, Society for Risk Analysis-Japan Section, Department of Earth Sciences-National Natural Science Foundation of China. International Academic Publishers (Fall), pp. 481-487.



The nation continues to experience major problems in the performance of its infrastructure in spite of the considerable investment of resources to expand capacity, increase accessibility, and exploit innovative technologies for infrastructure improvement. Some problems can be solved with incremental changes that retain the current specialized and categorical organization of infrastructure endeavors. Others, however, require a broad, sweeping, interdisciplinary perspective. Problems in this latter group may require the interaction of the sciences with engineering to address a materials problem, to identify statistical trends in performance, or to understand the environmental impacts of the design, construction or operation of a facility.


This book bridges the gap between the many different disciplines used in applications of risk analysis to real world problems. Contributed by some of the world's leading experts, it creates a common information base and language for all risk analysis practitioners, risk managers, and decision makers. Valuable as both a reference for practitioners and a comprehensive textbook for students, Fundamentals of Risk Analysis and Risk Management is a unique contribution to the field. Its broad coverage ranges from basic theory of risk analysis to practical applications, risk perception, legal and political issues, and risk management.


Zimmerman, R. et al.. Reform of Risk Regulation: Achieving More Protection at Less Cost. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, Vol. 1, No. 3 , pp. 183-206.
Zimmerman, R., et al.. Meta-analysis in Environmental Epidemiology. Risk Science Institute of the International Life Sciences Institute, Washington, D.C., January .
Zimmerman, R.. Integrating Environmental Justice (EJ) Methodologies into Environmental Impact Assessment. Environmental Challenges: The Next 20 Years, National Association of Environmental Professionals 20th Annual Conference Proceedings. Washington, D.C.: NAEP.

The use of meta-analysis in environmental epidemiology can enhance the value of epidemiologic data in debates about environmental health risks. Meta-analysis may be particularly useful to formally examine sources of heterogeneity, to clarify the relationship between environmental exposures and health effects, and to generate information beyond that provided by individual studies or a narrative review. However, meta-analysis may not be useful when the relationship between exposure and disease is obvious, when there are only a few studies of the key health outcomes, or when there is substantial confounding or other biases which cannot be adjusted for in the analysis. Recent increases in the use of meta-analysis in environmental epidemiology have highlighted the need for guidelines for the application of the technique. Guidelines, in the form of desirable and undesirable attributes, are presented in this paper for various components of a metaanalysis including study identification and selection; data extraction and analysis; and interpretation, presentation, and communication of results, Also discussed are the appropriateness of the use of meta-analysis in environmental health studies and when metaanalysis should or should not be used.

Zimmerman, R.. Final Report for the NY Statewide Transportation Master Plan/ Early Outreach Session Reports. Prepared for the NYS Department of Transportation. January .
Zimmerman, R. & Lichtenberg, E.. Farm Operator Perceptions of Water Quality Protective Pest Management Practices: Selected Survey Findings. Environmental Challenges: The Next 20 Years, National Association of Environmental Professionals 20th Annual Conference Proceedings. Washington, D.C.: NAEP. Pp. 780-785.



Examines the relationship between emergency management and governmental policies on technological disasters. Exploration of whether or not disasters exist from man-made technologies involving hazardous materials and what mechanisms are currently in place to cope with such emergencies; Review of incidents involving environmental contamination; Regulations in place to deal with contaminations; Conclusion that laws have become powerful tools for detecting and mitigating against environmental problems.



Examines ways in which organizations adapt to changing risk assessments in the U.S. through the development of organizational forms during times of crisis. Emergence of institutional conflict in setting risk standards; Organization adaptation to high risk environments; Patterns for the formation of organizations; Differences and conflicts among administrative agencies involved in risk management.



Examines variance of the shift and share projection formulation. Use of the shift share method in explaining historical trends in regional employment; Examination of the predictive power of the variant against the standard formulation; Evaluation of alternative projection methods for industries grouped into local market and supply-oriented categories.