Civil and Environmental Engineering


First Advisor

Aemal Khattak

Second Advisor

Massoum Moussavi

Third Advisor

Yunwoo Nam

Date of this Version

Spring 5-2022


Redepenning, H. (2022). Risk Assessment of Hazardous Material Transportation for Small and Tribal Communities


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Civil Engineering, Under the Supervision of Professor Aemal Khattak. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2022

Copyright © 2022 Harrison Redepenning


By and large transportation of hazardous materials (HazMat) across the US is increasing, with truck transportation as the most common method of transport. Smaller communities (population <5,000) and Native American communities often lack the economic and political influence to quantify the dangers that HazMat incidents present to the immediate and surrounding areas. Lack of such information is an impediment to adequate preparedness in cases of HazMat incidents. This research focuses on assessing the vulnerability of small and tribal communities in Nebraska to the impacts of highway HazMat incidents. This was done by estimating the expected number and type of HazMat incidents per population in each community. Additionally, statistical analysis was conducted on actual HazMat incidents to determine if small and Native American communities experience a higher rate of incidents per population and per HazMat VMT than large and other small communities respectively. For per population, it was found small versus large is statistically significant while Native American versus other small communities was not significant. For per HazMat VMT, neither comparison was found to be statistically significant. In estimated HazMat incidents, actual HazMat incidents per population, and actual HazMat incidents per HazMat VMT, small communities had higher mean values than their large counterparts. Communities on Native American reservation land experienced a higher estimated and lower actual HazMat incident rate per population than other small communities. For actual HazMat incidents per VMT, Native American communities had a higher rate than other small communities.

Advisor: Aemal Khattak