Video Game-based Early and Quick Safety and Stability Assessment of Critical Physical Infrastructure Affected by Disasters

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The impact of large-scale disasters, such as earthquakes, hitting urban areas can be devastating. The immediate 72 hours after a quake hits a densely populated urban area are critical for the response system to mitigate the impact of the disaster. further recovery of Critical Physical Infrastructure (CPI) to put it back to normal operations is a task that requires precise and quick diagnostics about CPI. Also, adequate assessment of safety and stability of CPI conducted immediately after a disaster such as an earth- quake hits an urban area may prevent further damage generated for aftershocks.

The research and development effort aims at leveraging the role of technology in improving the acquisition, analysis, and transfer of knowledge from experts and other sources to different types of apprentices that will further improve early and quick safety and stability assessment of CPI affected by disasters. On the long run, the technology role should be centered towards the capability to facilitate the development of a national standard in this assessment task. This capability relies on web and video game. This work aimed at improving and developing decision-making skills during response to disaster phase in presence of incomplete information and cascading effects. This effort was conducted in collaboration with the Academia Office from the Chilean Department of Transportation (MOP Academy).

This prototype  has been built to develop  a competence  among trainees  that: a) aids to make decisions  on habitability  and reparability  of CPI affected  by disasters like earthquakes; b) the trainee can gather the CPI data while navigating through the virtual CPI; c) facilitates  training, debriefing,  and correction  of trainees learning by putting  together  trainee  and  expert;  and  d)  allows  to  classify  a CPI  based  on  the world-wide  used  traffic  model  for safety  and  structural  stability  assessment  of the CPI. The serious video game-based simulator development was tested an evaluated by structural engineering experts, general engineers, and managers, from the Academy Office from Chilean Department of Transportation (MOP).  Experts were given a demonstration of the prototype, focusing on what the system was able to achieve, how the system needed to used, what were the response times from the system for the different operations allowed for both; trainee and expert/moderator roles, and what was the underlying architecture of the system. Experts and managers from MOP Academia also have expressed qualitatively that they anticipate this type of technology represents a real opportunity to further develop a national standard capability on early and quick safety and structural stability assessment. This opinion has been expressed in terms of perceiving that this technology provides easy access to practitioners, online web-based platform; easy to learn and use system; standard web-based technology with video-game being a technology that most young adults are familiar with; and enables different teaching/training/learning methodologies to be incorporated into the simulation platform.