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Appendix C [USGS]

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Appendix C. Goals and Targets of the National Earthquake Loss Reduction Program (NEP)

The National Earthquake Strategy Working Group recognized that NEHRP lacked an effective means of coordinating non-NEHRP agencies' earthquake activities, as well as efforts of non-governmental and state and local governmental sectors dealing with earthquakes. A major difficulty in evaluating the success of NEHRP and identifying future priorities has been the lack of specific goals, targets, and products against which performance can be measured or expectations revised. The new strategy establishes specific integrated and coordinated research targets and associated products with timelines for completion. Though these targets will undoubtedly be revised, modified, and supplemented as more is learned about earthquake loss reduction, they provide a framework for measuring progress.

The following sections set forth the primary goals that define the strategy. Each goal has several targets which in some cases could be described as projects, but generally are more broadly based. While the targets are prioritized in order of decreasing importance, the goals are not. For most targets one or more products have been identified. The aim of the strategy is to maintain a focus on these products as the separate supporting projects are developed, conducted, reviewed, and completed so that information and technology transfer meets public expectations on national earthquake loss reduction. Consistent with their mission, the Federal agencies planning allocation of limited earthquake-designated resources will take into account the specific targets and products identified as high priority issues by the user community in both the public and private sectors. The dates suggested for meeting targets or completing products are estimated guidelines, not commitments.

Funds for the attainment of these goals are presumed to be limited to those currently in the budgets of agency programs involved in earthquake research or loss mitigation technology development.

Goal 1: Provide leadership and coordination of federal earthquake research

1. Work with the National Science and Technology Council to establish a leadership mechanism to assure implementation of the Strategy. The mechanism shall report every two years to the President and to the Congress on its findings, progress, and recommendations relating to earthquake risk reduction. Leadership mechanisms are needed for both national oversight and day-to-day coordination functions.

2. Integrate federal earthquake-related program planning into the new mechanism over a five year period beginning in Fiscal Year 1996. This shall include a detailed analysis during FY 1996 of agency expenditures and planned expenditures with the objective of identifying any redundancies and redirecting expenditures toward high priority targets.

3. Develop a balanced national prioritized research and mitigation agenda, confirmed or adjusted on a regular basis, incorporating a broad-based assessment of user needs that includes the needs of agencies to support special or unique missions.

4. Facilitate cooperation and leverage across all agencies and groups with programmatic interests in earthquake loss reduction, including, but not limited to federal, state, local, private, voluntary, and public utility agencies and groups.

5. Develop an overall nationwide strategic plan to integrate and coordinate existing but currently separate research and mitigation programs into a unified, needs-driven, goal-oriented program consistent with the National Earthquake Strategy goals.

6. Advocate policies and practices nationwide and recommend legislation as appropriate.

7. Conduct a biennial performance assessment and report of coordination and integration activities under the Program. This report shall include accomplishments towards achieving the goals and recommendations for improving the Strategy. As the Program matures the assessment and report can be conducted at less frequent intervals.

8. Provide a focal point for federal international collaborative programs in research on earthquake loss reduction and in technology transfer for improved earthquake hazard mitigation.

Goal 2: Continue to expand technology transfer and outreach

1. Develop credible earthquake scenarios including vulnerabilities and loss estimates which are sensitive to economic and political issues, using GIS technology.

  • Planning and Technical Assistance Guide for Emergency Risk Managers and insurance companies, containing scenarios and estimates of loss applicable to specific earthquake-prone regions.
  • By the year 2000, publish credible planning earthquake scenarios for representative cities in the eastern and western United States exposed to the highest earthquake hazards.
  • Produce and distribute non-technical pamphlets on "Managing Earthquakes in My Town" tailored to the hazard risk of the area of distribution.
  • Produce and distribute handbook on proper application of land use planning to reduce risk from seismic hazard.
  • Support prototype efforts in appropriate land use.
  • Develop response modeling techniques that account for human interactions with the built environment and the behavior of non-structural systems that may contribute to human death or injury or losses of property and functionality.
  • Develop model approaches and other recommendations for improving emergency preparedness, recovery and reconstruction planning including topics of earthquake casualties, economic losses, and disruptions to communication, transportation, medical, pubic health, and other critical systems, and human responses to these problems.
  • Issue reliable and comprehensive estimates of future losses due to earthquakes and models to make direct comparisons of impacts between regions of the nation.

2. Develop assessments of the costs and benefits of various mitigation strategies for new and existing construction.

  • Handbook to assist facility and community planning groups to understand and estimate their own risk exposure, and realistically estimate mitigation costs and retrofit disruption impacts. Address alternative mitigation and preparedness strategies.
  • Engineering criteria handbook for retrofit/rehabilitation of existing facilities.
  • Seismic Program Planning Guide with information on property value increase and insurance premium decrease (as provided by the insurance industry) available to support the cost of: 1) studies and planning, 2) non-structural seismic safety hazard mitigation, and 3) retrofitting/rehabilitation of buildings.

3. Targeted training and education programs.

  • Develop, with university instructors, materials suitable for inclusion in building design, architecture, and engineering courses.
  • Mass media training seminars and "users manual".
  • K-12 grade school teaching modules focusing on the science and technology of seismic mitigation.
  • "Training in the work place" curriculum materials.
  • Post-earthquake response plans that will provide to federal, state, and local public officials, private industry, and the public information on the cause and effects of earthquakes, the potential for continuing hazard, and the means to recover from the event in the first hours, days, and weeks after an earthquake.
  • Newspaper inserts.
  • Traveling museum exhibits.
  • National Engineers Week teaching module.
  • Training programs for design professionals on new hazard mitigation methods.

4. Encourage and assist regional consortia.

  • Training exercises to strengthen federal, state, and local partnerships.
  • Support and expand the audience for existing training programs.

5. Embrace and support voluntary mitigation.

6. Communicate achievements, progress, and successes of the National Earthquake loss reduction Program and its member agencies and alliances

  • Short, simple, non-technical summaries of knowledge.
  • Newsletters in hard copy and electronic mail.
  • CD-Roms with extensive cross-referencing to all earthquake-related work.

7. Encourage and assist the insurance industry through publishing regular reports and presenting updates in information and methodology at insurance industry fora.

8. Develop and disseminate tools for design professionals that incorporate state-of-the-art information on mitigation strategies and methods.

  • Technical briefs on earth science issues written for design professionals (e.g. how to interpret liquefaction potential maps).
  • Guidelines on specific aspects of design (e.g. pushover analyses).
  • Computer software for improved design of construction.

Goal 3: Improve engineering of the built environment

1. Develop improved analytical techniques for dynamic, non-linear response of complex, unconventional materials, structures, and lifelines.

  • Numerical methods, computer software, and modeling procedures to simulate three-dimensional elastic response, inelastic response of basic structure, and soil structure interaction.
  • Experimental verifications under laboratory and field conditions of basic seismic behavior of structures and their protective systems.
  • Composite materials and hybrid systems consisting of new and existing materials, particularly high-performance materials.
  • Dam/reservoir systems including three-dimensional dam-fluid-foundation interactions and sediment effects.

2. Develop new and innovative systems of construction that are economical yet inherently earthquake resistant.

  • Active, passive, and hybrid control technologies.
  • System designed semi-rigid frames and braced frames.
  • Improved design methods for high-strength concrete structures, steel structures, composite and hybrid structures.
3. Develop performance-based * design concepts and criteria for buildings and lifeline systems.

  • Universal damage indices for different types of constructions and engineering systems.
  • Damage indices versus earthquake intensity, frequency content, and duration studies for different constructions.
  • Probabilistic measures of failure.
  • Performance-damage index statistics, studies to develop earthquake parameters and damage-cost relationships for different types of construction, and cost-benefit studies in a probabilistic framework to develop performance-based guidelines for the western, central, and eastern United States.

[*Performance-based design criteria go beyond the intent of extant codes by incorporating a combination of more stringent practices in hazard definition, design analysis, test, construction, and inspection specifically tailored to ensure a specified level of structure damage control and contents functionality for a defined earthquake threat.]

4. Understand seismic behavior of non-building structures and lifeline systems.

  • Dynamic earthquake behavior of network systems of bridges, other transportation arteries and nodes, power, water, sewage, and communications systems.
  • Earthquake countermeasures including development of on-line inspection, monitoring, and control capability, and optimal network management techniques.
  • Systems-integrated institutional effectiveness and productivity assessment methodologies to determine infrastructure system losses due to social/economic impediments.

5. Develop effective and economical methods to evaluate and retrofit existing seismically hazardous structures.

  • Performance criteria and engineering design manuals for retrofit measures.
  • Advanced technologies for infrastructure health condition assessment and monitoring.
  • Analysis of economic issues related to decisions to retrofit, leave in present condition, or demolish structures, and the selection of retrofit techniques.
  • Investigation of architectural/functional issues.
  • Effective methods of prioritizing retrofit efforts regionally and by structural type considering potential hazard, limitations of economic resources, and social demand and impact.

6. Develop experimental engineering research capability and conduct verification and proof-of-principle projects.

  • Comprehensive examination of long-term experimental earthquake engineering research needs and corresponding requirements for technical manpower, testing facilities, and financial resources.
  • Detailed investigation and qualification of earthquake-resistant design concepts and viability of protective systems.
  • Upgrade existing experimental facilities and establish new facilities as needed and allowed by budgetary constraints.

Goal 4: Improve data for construction standards and codes

1. Develop and make available for use by code writing bodies, state insurance offices, and insurance firms resource documents on improved, functionality-preserving seismic design criteria for new buildings and other structures, including cost estimates.


By the year 1998 -
  • Provide guidance on earthquake risk reduction to federally supported day care centers and schools in moderate to very high earthquake hazard areas.
  • Provide guidance on earthquake risk reduction to all hospitals and medical care facilities in moderate to very high earthquake hazard areas.
  • Provide a catalog of risk reduction activities to private insurance companies.

By the year 2000 -
  • Develop performance-based design criteria for new buildings and other structures, including non-structural systems and requirements for functionality of essential buildings, and implement the criteria in national standards and model building codes and the practices of federal agencies.
  • Develop consistent, prescriptive criteria for small new buildings, including criteria for non-structural systems, and implement the criteria in national standards and model building codes and the practices of federal agencies.
  • Develop prescriptive model earthquake building code requirements.
  • Develop and implement programs which educate state and local government officials, designers, builders, and building officials towards code adoption and implementation.
  • Suggest implementation incentives (permits, financing, insurance, resale) which account for social context.
  • Provide consensus-based information, in non-technical terms, on regional seismic risk affecting 41 States and U.S. Territories.

2. Develop and make available resource documents for use by code writing bodies, insurance companies, and regulators on performance-based seismic design standards for lifelines.

  • By the year 1997, prepare and deliver guidance packages on mitigation grants and case studies of mitigation products to 30% of school districts in moderate to very high earthquake hazard areas.
  • By the year 1998, provide guidelines for the seismic safety of new and existing lifelines.
  • By the year 2000, propose national standards for functionality-preserving seismic design of new lifeline construction.
  • By the year 2000, conduct 20 workshops for building investors and developers in moderate to very high earthquake hazard areas.
  • By the year 2003, propose national standards for seismic evaluation and retrofit of existing lifeline infrastructure.
3. By the year 2005, develop and make available resource documents for use by code writing bodies, insurance companies, and regulators on rehabilitation standards for existing buildings and other structures.

  • By the year 1996, develop and conduct courses on seismic design, engineering, and siting for architectural and engineering faculty.
  • By the year 1996, develop teaching modules on earthquake science and mitigation technology for K-12 grades and provide teacher enhancement workshops to encourage integration of modules in existing K-12 curricula.
  • By the year 2000, establish earthquake safety education programs in all federal agencies in moderate to very high earthquake hazard areas.
  • By the year 2000, develop technologies for assessing the condition of existing buildings, cost-effective strengthening techniques, and rational guidelines for the assessment and strengthening of populations of potentially hazardous existing buildings.
  • By the year 2005, implement the above technologies through national standards and model building codes.
  • Support building retrofit/rehabilitation demonstration projects.
  • Identify, collect and publish a compendium of existing design guides.
  • Field test the compendium of design guides in demonstration projects.

4. By the year 2000, introduce multi-hazard standards.

  • Basic prescriptive wind, earthquake, and tsunami model building practice requirements.
  • Education towards code adoption.
  • Training of designers and contractors.
  • Collaborate with the insurance industry on multi-hazard rating and loss modeling.

5. Develop improved capabilities for analysis and testing of structures, including lifelines.

  • Detailed study, such as the shake table study, comparing options requested for completion in FY 95.
  • Structural response modeling techniques that account for nonlinear and inelastic behavior of buildings and structures, and active and passive control systems to increase resistance to structural collapse.
  • Capabilities to predict the dynamic and inelastic response of a specific structure (for all types of buildings and lifelines) to a specific, free field ground motion with consideration of soil-foundation-structure interaction, and damping and hysteretic energy absorption for inelastic structural response.
  • Proof-testing capability to test products.
6. Develop means to mitigate tsunami effects by incorporating readings from deep-water pressure sensors to improve early tsunami warning systems.

Goal 5: Continue development of seismic hazards and risk assessment tools

1. Improve loss estimation methodology. Develop earthquake scenarios linking building types and lifelines with the effects of strong shaking and ground failure to provide better estimates of life losses, injury, public health impact, property losses, and indirect economic effects.


  • Identification of, and predicted seismic intensities for, areas vulnerable to site amplification of strong ground motion.
  • Hazard maps suitable for planning and engineering in critical urban and suburban areas vulnerable to site amplification liquefaction and landslides.
  • Predictive models for liquefaction-induced ground deformation and effects on building foundations, lifelines, and waterfront properties.
  • Standards of practice for hazard analysis and mitigation of ground failures.
  • Standards for the management of shelters for people with special needs, such as people evacuated from hospitals or nursing homes.

2. By the year 1998, develop seismic risk assessment methodology and quantify seismic risk for communities exposed to high seismic hazard.

  • Inventories and database of information on buildings and lifelines at risk.
  • Quantitative loading models accounting for bedrock ground shaking, site effects, duration of shaking and interactions of the structure with supporting soils and rock.
  • New techniques for seismic microzonation that will ultimately take into account potential losses of the built environment and will influence policies and practices.
3. By the year 2000, provide demonstration seismic hazard microzonation maps for representative sections of selected cities exposed to the highest earthquake hazard.

  • First maps for trial use and comment by the year 1998
  • Digital surficial and bedrock geology maps for major urban areas at risk from earthquakes showing areas of potential ground failure (liquefaction, landslides, lateral spreads, and others).

4. By the year 2005, provide regional seismic hazard maps, interpretations, and guidelines as the basis for seismic zonation, implementation of earthquake codes, and local land-use decisions.

  • Characterize the earthquake potential (including the magnitude, frequency and effects of future earthquakes) of the United States on a regional and national basis to a precision of at least 200 km.
  • Identify active faults, define their geometry, and determine the characteristics and dates of past earthquakes.
  • Predict strong ground shaking and ground failure, including subsidence, landslides, and liquefaction.
  • Predict regional earthquake losses due to identified earthquake hazards through the use of modern statistical methodologies.
  • Identify zones of earth movement in the eastern United States where active faults are not present at the surface.
  • Conduct a series of workshops across the country in order to assimilate, incorporate, and share more than a decade of federal, academic, and private sector research into the estimates of seismic source zones.

5. Improve earthquake hazard assessment and forecasting using historical seismicity and paleoseismicity, and evaluate the role of emerging technologies such as Global Positioning System (GPS), Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) differential interferometry, high performance seismometers, borehole strainmeters, and monitoring of microseismicity and hydrologic effects at depth.

  • Develop and evaluate methods for short- and intermediate-term earthquake forecasts and apply the methodologies to selected regions with high earthquake potential.
  • Determine the accumulation of crustal strain in a GPS network grid of sufficient density in earthquake-prone regions to evaluate whether these data allow estimates of short- to moderate-term earthquake potential (complete grid deployment by 1999).
  • Integrate synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data on small crustal movements for earthquake sequences in southern California with satellite and aircraft radar data to complement the continuous observations available from GPS and seismic arrays (begin systematic aircraft SAR measurements in 1996).
  • Deploy and operate an expanded network of permanently-placed GPS receivers and develop the necessary regional centers for data analysis, supplementing receivers with complementary installation of boreholes at select sites.
  • Develop and evaluate methods for long-term forecasting using historical seismicity and paleoseismicity.
  • Monitor microseismicity and hydrologic phenomena such as well water levels to characterize crustal strain at depth.

6. Provide high-quality earthquake recordings and derived basic seismic information to researchers and practitioners on an ongoing basis.

  • Complete planned modernization of the U.S. earthquake recording capability by completing development of the National Seismic Network stations by the year 2000.
  • Upgrade seismic networks to include broad-band, digital stations augmented with three component strong-motion sensors.
  • Establish near-real time recording standards for the National Seismic Network.
  • Complete the Global Seismic Network and IRIS data center.
  • Update and expand national strong-motion network to digitally record ground motion and structural response in urban zones of highest risk.

7. Understand critical earthquake topics such as plate interactions in subduction zones, blind faults, and fold and thrust belts appropriate to such geographically diverse areas as the Pacific Northwest, mid-continent, and Eastern United States.

  • Models of fault system dynamics and interactions for specific regions at risk.
  • Synthetic seismograms for strong ground motion and space/time histories.
  • Geologic studies of exhumed faults, geophysical surveys to remotely determine fault zone properties, scientific drilling for sampling and in-situ properties determination, laboratory rock mechanics experiments, and induced-seismicity studies.
  • Quantitative models of the physics of the earthquake process, including generic physical models of the earthquake cycle, methods relating seismic waveforms and fault slip, wave propagation effects, and general features of rupture.
  • Testing forecasting/prediction methodologies using ideas from the sciences of chaos and complexity, including neural networks and non-linear time series prediction.

8. Improve understanding of strong ground motions, including nonlinear site response, directivity and topographic effects, and foundation instability.

  • Conduct research on recorded motion and publish results in a format understandable to design professionals.
  • Develop site-specific ground motion models for engineering design.
  • Develop techniques for engineering assessment of liquefaction effects, soil-structure interaction, landslide and foundation subsidence.
9. Provide an accessible digital GIS database.

  • By the year 2000, acquire and make accessible over the INTERNET the digital topographic maps needed to cover major urban areas with the highest seismic risks.
  • By the year 2005, make accessible over the INTERNET a catalog of existing earthquake hazard- and risk-related GIS data sets, including data sets from local and state agencies, and a list of the types of information most needed in digital form by various users, including building code writers and insurance companies.
10. Improve foreknowledge of and response to tsunami hazards.

  • By the year 2000, acquire and make accessible over the INTERNET the digital topographic maps needed to cover major urban areas with the highest seismic risks.
  • Provide demonstration inundation maps for tsunami-threatened coastal towns (pattern after hurricane surge inundation maps in use over the past 30 years for the east and Gulf of Mexico coastal area) using GIS technology.
  • Link offshore wave measurements to tsunami warning systems to provide a near- real time warning capability to coastal systems.
  • Identify evacuation procedures and routes and warning systems.
  • Provide demonstration all-hazard maps (tsunamis, flooding, and geologic) using GIS format for select sites along the west coast.

Goal 6: Analyze seismic hazard mitigation incentives

1. Evaluate mechanisms and advise Congress and relevant Executive Branch Offices to achieve adoption and enforcement by the year 2000 of up-to-date model building codes and standards to govern all new building and lifeline design and construction.

2. Provide guidance and lead by example on specific mitigation measures which may be used in a federal incentive program.

  • Provide text to extend Executive Order 12699 to include "indirectly" financed federally assisted construction projects.
  • Provide guidance for developing a community rating system for seismic hazards.
3. Better understand the socioeconomic barriers to mitigation and preparedness.

  • Identify risk mitigation measures associated with insurance coverage for workers compensation, fire, professional errors and omissions, general liability, and other lines that account for most of the expected insured losses.
  • Foster the practice of professional peer review (not plan checking) for design of new and retrofit/rehabilitation of existing important, unique, essential, and critical facilities.
  • Establish national standards for professional competence in relevant professions (geology, engineering, construction, emergency response).
3. Investigate barriers to insurance premium restructuring.

  • Identify insurance regulatory reforms to reduce barriers.

Goal 7: Develop understanding of the societal and institutional issues related to earthquake hazard reduction

1. Determine the social and economic benefits and costs of various mitigation measures such as codes, land-use planning, insurance, and educational programs for different sectors of society.

  • Knowledge base for model mitigation and preparedness programs in at-risk regions of the country.
  • Recommendations for the most effective mix of mitigation strategies.
  • Hazard reduction factors that can be translated into insurance premium discounts.
2. Identify the social, economic, and political factors that facilitate and hinder the adoption and implementation of seismic safety measures.

  • Information on the characteristics of populations exposed to earthquake hazards and the differences among the various social groups and institutional sectors in their vulnerability.
  • Information on risk perception and its impact on mitigation and preparedness actions.
  • Recommendations for improving the effectiveness of hazard information and dissemination efforts.
  • Knowledge on the effectiveness of incentives and regulations in furthering mitigation and preparedness actions.
3. Investigate the societal responses to earthquakes, including emergency response systems, and individual, business, and community recovery from such events.

  • Information on the acquisition, communication, and utilization of risk and damage information.
  • Assessments of the effectiveness of existing mitigation and preparedness mechanisms and identification of alternative approaches.
  • Guidelines on ways in which the reconstruction period can be used by decision makers to reduce future vulnerability.
4. Analyze multi-hazard mitigation and preparedness planning.

  • Comparisons of responses to earthquakes and other hazards and disasters.
  • Techniques for integrating seismic safety planning into a community's general planning efforts.
  • Basis for transferring policies which have proved successful in reducing other natural hazard risks to the earthquake context.
  • Techniques for integrating seismic safety planning and other hazards into a multi- hazard community planning approach.

Goal 8: Analyze the medical and public health consequences of earthquakes

1. Identify potential strategies to prevent or mitigate the adverse public health consequences of earthquakes through epidemiological research.
2. Integrate casualty and medical needs predictions into earthquake loss estimates.

  • Realistic models for estimating casualties and medical requirements.
  • Realistic scenarios for pre-earthquake preparedness simulations, and exercises.
3. Develop validated indicators for rapid assessment of the health effects and potential health effects of earthquakes and related health needs in order to determine the most appropriate medical requirements during the critical first few hours after impact.

4. Develop more effective rescue, medical training, and public health programs.

5. Review effective operational procedures for meeting the health needs of people with special requirements such as evacuees from hospitals and nursing homes.

6. Develop an emergency communications system to ensure effective coordination of medical and health needs at the local, State, and federal levels.

Goal 9: Continue documentation of earthquakes and their effects

1. Establish standards and specifications for official documentation of earthquakes by 1996.

2. Prepare and publish a reconnaissance report, collect ephemeral data, and complete major aspects of a research plan within one year of each major earthquake event.

3. Prepare and publish an in-depth report within four years of each major earthquake event.

4. Post information on electronic data base for easy access by any interested party.

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Privacy Statement

National Earthquake Loss Reduction [USGS]

A Severe National Threat [USGS]

Current Earthquake Program [USGS]

Need for Change [USGS]

A New National Earthquake Strategy [USGS]

Targets and Responsibilities [USGS]

Utilization of New Technologies [USGS]

Implementation [USGS]

The NEP and National Goals [USGS]

International Collaboration [USGS]

Appendix A [USGS]

Appendix B [USGS]

Appendix C [USGS]

Appendix D [USGS]

Abbreviations/Acronyms [USGS]

Executive Summary [USGS]