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NIST ARC (NIST Alternatives for Resilient Communities) Tool

NIST Alternatives for Resilient Communities, or NIST ARC, is an interactive screening tool that is designed to assist communities in resilience planning.  The specific challenges addressed by NIST ARC relate to the breadth, large scale, and interdependencies of the community resilience planning system—those elements of our physical, social, and economic systems that determine a community’s resilience.  Given hazard and interdependency information, and socio-economic data, NIST ARC outputs alternative sets of actions across the community that can be taken to meet user-specified resilience and other targets (e.g., cost).  The goal of NIST ARC is to decrease a community’s burden in developing viable, sound alternatives for stakeholder consideration and to provide useful starting points for further, more detailed analysis.

NIST ARC is designed to assist a collaborative planning team in the identification of solutions as outlined in NIST’s Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems.  The target user of NIST ARC is an analyst working in close collaboration with the planning team.  The analyst would facilitate the team’s interactive use of NIST ARC, including refinement of targets and imposition of new constraints to address stakeholder comments or concerns, and to explore tradeoffs.

Alternatives found with NIST ARC are intended to serve as effective starting points for further analysis and refinement, including with other tools.  Other NIST-funded tools include the Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning (CoE)-developed Interdependent Networked Community Resilience Modeling Environment (IN-CORE) and, for more detailed economic comparison of resilience alternatives, NIST’s EDGe$ (Economic Decision Guide Software) Online Tool

NIST ARC, in this update of the beta version, takes the form of a Jupyter notebook.  This choice allows for great flexibility, allowing quick incorporation of feedback from communities while also encouraging contributions from fellow researchers.  Future versions of NIST ARC will enable the capture of more components of the community resilience planning system, will incorporate new research findings, and will strive to be increasingly user-friendly.

To obtain and install NIST ARC:

The installation guides the user in setting up NIST ARC and other required solver software.  In addition, an example community dataset and supporting files are distributed with NIST ARC.

See Highlights of NIST ARC, Version 0.98-Beta

  • Flexible, platform-independent, tool that assists decision makers in identifying alternatives sets of resilience actions across the community
  • Embeds an optimization engine for efficient decision search and exploration
  • Captures multiple forms of redundancy that are key to community resilience
    • Multiple means of provisioning an input
    • Backup input storage (e.g., water, power)
    • Portable capacity (e.g., generators)
  • Jointly addresses mitigation and recovery
  • Recovery modeling with discrete event simulation using critical path method (CPM)-like computations
  • Includes a well-developed, realistic case study, informed through NIST studies and pre-deployments
  • New, easier installation
  • Data visualization improvements


Created September 14, 2020, Updated January 17, 2023