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Initial Framework to Design Lifeline Infrastructure for Post-Earthquake Functional Recovery Volume 1



Craig A. Davis, Laurie A. Johnson, Anne Kiremidjian, Alexis Kwasinski, Thomas Denis O'Rourke, Ellis Stanley, Kent Yu, Farzin Zareian, Katherine Johnson, Ayse Hortacsu


Lifeline infrastructure systems provide services to support communities, including life safety, public health, and social-economic factors. They require both built assets and the human agency necessary to operate them, but there are no known frameworks that integrate both the assets and the organizational actions needed to go along with the design assumptions to meet target recovery objectives. This document presents an initial framework that guides the reader through steps to achieve system-level functional recovery of lifeline infrastructure systems after earthquake events by addressing how to provide the services that users need when they need them by considering design of lifeline infrastructure system components, development of organizational policy and strategies, and evaluation of system capacity. The framework is useful for the design of individual components as the need arises or as a guide for conducting a wholesale assessment for retrofit upgrade, maintenance, extensions, or replacements. Likewise, the framework is useful for developing policies and strategies to ensure that organizations are adequately prepared or to guide the wholesale assessment of all groups in planning organizational improvements. The framework considers dependencies and interdependencies of water, wastewater, and electric power systems and is applicable to other lifeline infrastructure systems. It is flexible and can be applied at full or partial system scales so that services can be restored after earthquakes within a targeted recovery time. The development of this framework was based on consideration of only water, wastewater, and electric power systems, and the application to these three systems is illustrated in Volume 2. However, the general framework presented is intended to apply to all lifeline infrastructure systems. The primary audience for the framework includes owner representatives who manage and operate lifeline infrastructure systems and analysts and designers working in support. Example applications of the framework to hypothetical water, wastewater, and electric power infrastructure systems are presented in Volume 2 to benefit analysts and designers of lifeline infrastructure systems.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 1310
Report Number


functional recovery, lifeline infrastructure systems, resilience


Davis, C. , Johnson, L. , Kiremidjian, A. , Kwasinski, A. , O'Rourke, T. , Stanley, E. , Yu, K. , Zareian, F. , Johnson, K. and Hortacsu, A. (2024), Initial Framework to Design Lifeline Infrastructure for Post-Earthquake Functional Recovery Volume 1, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed April 19, 2024)
Created March 7, 2024