Establishing Characteristics to Operationalize Resilience for Lifeline Systems Academic Article uri icon


  • 2018 American Society of Civil Engineers. The purpose of this paper is to provide information useful for creating and maintaining resilient utility lifeline systems. In part, the information presented helps to answer the question: "What is a resilient lifeline system?" Seventeen characteristics of resilient lifeline systems are identified and categorized within organizational, technical, social, and economic domains. Each characteristic has a listing of achievement indicators. The achievement indicators are shown to define the space bounded by the resilience domains (organizational, technical, social, and economic), resilience properties (redundancy, resourcefulness, rapidity, and robustness), and the event cycle (planning, mitigation, response, recovery, and rebuild). The characteristics and achievement indicators define attributes needed for resilient lifeline systems and can be used as a checklist to allow lifeline organizations to better understand their current level of resilience and what they may undertake to improve. The difference between the current status and the target, defined by the characteristics, identifies the gaps in resilience needing to be filled. The gaps can be prioritized and implemented individually or as part of a lifeline system resilience program and are helpful for setting future directions and strategic planning. Example and case study applications are presented to show how the characteristics and achievement indicators can be operationalized into practice. For these reasons, one primary intended audience for this information is midlevel to high-level managers of lifeline system owners and operators who are interested in improving their system resilience. The characteristics and achievement indicators are also useful for identifying where research and development are needed to create further guidance on how to improve lifeline system resilience. As a result, another audience for this paper is lifeline system researchers and product developers.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 3.1

author list (cited authors)

  • Davis, C. A., Mostafavi, A., & Wang, H.

citation count

  • 16

complete list of authors

  • Davis, Craig A||Mostafavi, Ali||Wang, Haizhong

publication date

  • June 2018