The recent earthquakes in California and Japan have shown the fundamental role that the road infrastructure plays in emergencies. In fact, only the maintenance of a sufficient level of efficiency can help to quickly reach the affected areas and thus avoid further serious consequences. The necessity of guaranteeing the functionality of the transport network during seismic events therefore requires seismic risk planning extended also to the road infrastructures in order to support the management of post-earthquake emergencies. Analogously it is fundamentally important to have analysis instruments of the road system able to preventatively evaluate the effects of earthquakes in order to identify possible emergencies, therefore preparing a program of intervention to reduce seismic risk on road networks. This paper proposes a methodology for the evaluation of seismic risk of road infrastructures according to the following points:
•Study of seismic hazard of the site for the definition of a seismic scenario using attenuation models in relation to historical seismology and the geological and tectonic characteristics of the territory;
•Analysis of the direct exposure connected to the probability of the presence of road users on the different parts of the network directly exposed to the seismic event;
•Analysis of the indirect exposure relative to the distribution of the population and the infrastructures for which post-earthquake accessibility must be guaranteed;
•Evaluation of the functional vulnerability in relation to the potential replaceability of damaged stretches considering network configuration and geometrical characteristics;
•Evaluation of structural vulnerability of the stretch correlated to the characteristics (structural, mechanical, technological, etc.) of the different components (bridges, embankments, trenches, tunnels) that make up the stretches obtained by the use of correctly elaborated tables for each component.
The determination of global risk indexes of the single stretches and of the network, evaluated by means of a relationship between the ascertained parameters derived from the investigation of the previous points, provides the necessary information for the definition of mitigation measures to reduce the risk and for management planning before and after disaster. The proposed methodology, which has already been applied to a restricted area, is currently being applied to the province of Catania (Sicily, Italy), which is one of the geographical regions of highest seismic risk in Europe, and its future extension to all of eastern Sicily is foreseeable.