Rachel A. Davidson

Ph.D, Stanford University

Professor; Associate Dean for Diversity

Office: 360B DuPont Hall
Phone: (302) 831-4952
Fax: (302) 831-3640
Curriculum Vitae:  view

[ Short Bio | Education | Awards | Select Publications | Courses ]

Short Bio

Rachel Davidson is Associate Dean for Diversity for the College of Engineering, a Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and a core faculty member in the Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware. After completing her B.S.E. from Princeton University and M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University, she spent two years at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, then six years at Cornell University, both as an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering. Following a year as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Columbia University, she joined the faculty at the University of Delaware and the Disaster Research Center in 2007. She was a Visiting Professor and Erskine Fellow at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand for the 2013-14 academic year.

Davidson conducts research on natural disaster risk modeling and civil infrastructure systems. Her work involves developing new engineering models to better characterize the impact of future natural disasters, and use that understanding to support decisions to help reduce future losses. It focuses particularly on lifelines (e.g., electric power, water supply) and risk from a regional perspective; on earthquakes and hurricanes. Problems in this field typically involve a great deal of uncertainty, a long time horizon, multiple and competing objectives, and sometimes numerous and conflicting constituencies. They are often spatial and dynamic, and the technical aspects must be understood in the social, economic, political, and cultural context in which they exist.

She is a Fellow and Past-President of the Society for Risk Analysis, and past-Chair of the Executive Committee of the ASCE Technical Council on Lifeline Earthquake Engineering (TCLEE). She has been a mentor for the NSF-funded Career Enhancement of Academic Women in Earthquake Engineering (ENHANCE) program and the NSF-funded "Enabling the Next Generation of Hazards and Disaster Researchers" program.


1997: Ph.D, Stanford University
1994: Master, Stanford University
1993: Bachelor, Princeton University

Honors and Awards

Fellow: Executive Leadership in Academic Technology and Engineering (ELATE) program (2015-2016)
Visiting Erskine Fellow, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand: 2014
Fellow: Society for Risk Analysis
Best paper award: Society for Risk Analysis, Risk Analysis journal (2007)
Best poster award: 9th International Association of Fire Safety Science Symposium (2008)
Nominated for Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize: American Society of Civil Engineers (2006)
Chosen as Most Influential Faculty Member by a Merrill Presidential Scholar: Cornell University (2005)
Dorothy Swanson Excellence in Teaching Award: Cornell University College of Engineering (2004)
Invited participant in the National Academy of Engineering Seventh Annual Symposium on Frontiers: Irvine, CA (3/02)
National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award: (7/00-6/04)
National Science Foundation Professional Opportunities for Women in Research and Education: (7/00-12/01)
National Science Foundation Three-Year Graduate Fellowship: (9/93-6/97)
Earthquake Engineering Research Institute Student Paper Competition winner: 1997

Select Publications

Robinson, C., Davidson, R., Trainor, J., Kruse, J., and Nozick, L. 2018. Homeowner acceptance of voluntary property acquisition offers. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, in press.
Bagriacik, A., Davidson, R., Hughes, M., Bradley, B., and Cubrinovski, M. 2018. Comparison of statistical and machine learning approaches to modeling earthquake damage to water pipelines. Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, in press.
Davidson, R., Nozick, L., Wachtendorf, T., Blanton, B., Colle, B., Kolar, R., DeYoung, S., Dresback, K., Yi, W., Yang, K., and Leonardo, N. An integrated scenario ensemble-based framework for hurricane evacuation modeling: Part 1 – Decision support system. Risk Analysis, in press, online.
Blanton, B., Dresback, K., Colle, B., Kolar, R., Vergara, H., Hong, Y., Leonardo, N., Davidson, R., Nozick, L., and Wachtendorf, T. An integrated scenario ensemble-based framework for hurricane evacuation modeling: Part 2 – Hazard Modeling. Risk Analysis, in press, online.

      Zhu, J., Manandhar, B., Truong, J., Ganapati, N.E., Pradhananga, N. Davidson, R. and Mostafavi, A., 2017. Assessment of Infrastructure Resilience in the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake. Earthquake Spectra 33(S1), S147-S165.

Lizundia, B., Davidson, R., Hashash, Y., and Olshansky, R. 2017. Overview of the 2015 Gorkha, Nepal, Earthquake and the Earthquake Spectra Special Issue. Earthquake Spectra 33(S1), S1-S20.
Yi, W., Nozick, L. K., Davidson, R. A., Blanton, B., and Colle, B. 2017. Optimization of the issuance of evacuation orders under evolving hurricane conditions. Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, 95, 285–304.
Wang, D., Davidson, R., Trainor, J., Nozick, L., and Kruse, J. 2017. Homeowner purchase of insurance for hurricane-induced wind and flood damage. Natural Hazards, 88(1), 221-245.
Yang, K., Davidson, R. A., Nozick, L. K., Blanton, B., and Colle, B. 2017. Scenario-based hazard trees for depicting resolution of hurricane uncertainty over time. Natural Hazards Review, 04017001.
Shan, X., Peng, J., Kesete, Y., Kruse, J., Davidson, R., and Nozick, L. 2016. Market insurance and self-insurance through retrofit: Analysis for hurricane risk in North Carolina. ASCE-ASME Journal of Risk and Uncertainty in Engineering Systems, Part A: Civil Engineering 3(1), 04016012.
DeYoung, S., Wachtendorf, T., Davidson, R., Xu, K., Nozick, L., Farmer, A., and Zelewicz, L. 2016. A mixed method study of hurricane evacuation: Demographic predictors for stated compliance to voluntary and mandatory orders. Environmental Hazards, 15(2), 95-112.
Manzour, H., Davidson, R., Horspool, N., and Nozick, L. 2016. Seismic hazard and loss analysis for spatially distributed infrastructure in Christchurch, New Zealand. Earthquake Spectra, 32(2), 697–712.
Xu, K., Davidson, R., Nozick, L., Wachtendorf, T., and DeYoung, S. 2016. Hurricane evacuation demand models with a focus on use for prediction in future events. Transportation Research A 87, 90-101.
Anderson, D., Davidson, R., Himoto, K., and Scawthorn, C. 2016. Statistical modeling of fire occurrence using data from the Tōhoku, Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, Risk Analysis 36(2), 378-395. 
Reilly, A., Davidson, R., Nozick, L., Chen, T., and Guikema, S. 2016. Using data envelopment analysis to evaluate the performance of post-hurricane electric power restoration activities. Reliability Engineering and System Safety, 152, 197-204.
Gao, Y., Nozick, L., Kruse, J., and Davidson, R. 2016. Modeling competition in a market for natural catastrophe insurance. Journal of Insurance Issues, 39(1), 38-68.
Davidson, R. 2015. Integrating disciplinary contributions to achieve community resilience to natural disasters. Civil Engineering and Environmental Systems, Special Issue on Resilience 32(1–2), 55–67, invited contribution.
Brink, S., and Davidson, R. 2015. Framework for comprehensive assessment of a city's natural disaster risk. Earthquake Spectra, 31(4), 1931-1947.
Peng, J., Shan, X., Gao, Y., Kesete, Y., Davidson, R., Nozick, L., and Kruse, J. 2014. Modeling the integrated roles of insurance and retrofit in managing natural disaster risk: A multi-stakeholder perspective. Natural Hazards, 74, 1043-1068.
Kesete, Y., Peng, J., Gao, Y., Shan, X., Davidson, R., Nozick, L., and Kruse, J. 2014. Modeling insurer-homeowner interactions in managing natural disaster risk. Risk Analysis 34(6), 1040-1055.

Li, S., and Davidson, R. 2013. Application of an urban fire simulation model. Earthquake Spectra 29(4), 1369-1389.


Li, S., and Davidson, R. 2013. Parametric study of urban fire spread using an Urban Fire Simulation model with fire department suppression. Fire Safety Journal 61, 217-225.


Li, A., Nozick, L, Davidson, R., Brown, N., Jones, D, and Wolshon, B. 2013. Approximate solution procedure for Dynamic Traffic Assignment. ASCE Journal of Transportation Engineering 139(8), 822-832.


Han, Y., Davidson, R., Black1, G., and Pei, S. 2013. A regional perspective on defining seismic performance objectives for woodframe buildings. Structural Safety 43, 50-59.


Legg, M., Davidson, R., and Nozick, L. 2013. Optimization-based regional hurricane mitigation planning. Journal of Infrastructure Systems 19(1), 1-11.

Li, A., Nozick, L., Xu, N., and Davidson, R. 2012. Shelter location and transportation planning under hurricane conditions. Transportation Research Part E 48, 715-729.
Apivatanagul, P., Davidson, R., and Nozick, L. 2012. Bi-level optimization for risk-based regional hurricane evacuation planning. Natural Hazards 60(2), 567-588.

Vaziri, P., Davidson, R., Apivatanagul, P., and Nozick, L. 2012. Identification of optimization-based probabilistic earthquake scenarios for regional loss estimation. Journal of Earthquake Engineering 16(2), 296-315.

Rathfon, D., Davidson, R., Bevington, J., Vicini, Al, and Hill, A. 2013. Quantitative assessment of post-disaster housing recovery: A case study of Punta Gorda, Florida following Hurricane Charley. Disasters 37(2), 333-355.
Han, Y., and Davidson, R. 2012. Probabilistic seismic hazard analysis for spatially distributed infrastructure. Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics 41(15), 2141-2158.
Li, C., Xu, N., Nozick, L., and Davidson, R. 2011. Bilevel optimization for integrated shelter location analysis and transportation planning for hurricane events. Journal of Infrastructure Systems 17, 184-192.
Apivatanagul, P., Davidson, R., Blanton, B., and Nozick, L. 2011. Long-term regional hurricane hazard analysis for wind and storm surge, Coastal Engineering 58(6), 499-509.
Hill, A., Bevington, J., Davidson, R., Chang, S., Eguchi, R., Adams, B., Brink, S., Panjwani, D., Mills, R., Pyatt, S., Honey, M., and Amyx, P. 2011. Community-scale damage, disruption, and early recovery in the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Earthquake Spectra, Haiti Earthquake Special Issue 27, S431-S446.
Black, G., Davidson, R., Pei, S., and van de Lindt, J. 2010. Empirical loss analysis to support definition of seismic performance objectives for woodframe buildings. Structural Safety 32(3), 209-219.
Brink, S., Davidson, R., and Tabucchi, T. 2012. Strategies to reduce durations of post-earthquake water service interruptions in Los Angeles. Structure and Infrastructure Engineering 8(2), 199-210.
Legg, M., Nozick, L., and Davidson, R. 2010. Optimizing the selection of hazard-consistent probabilistic scenarios for long-term regional hurricane loss estimation. Structural Safety 32(1), 90-100.
Lee, S., and Davidson, R. 2010. Application of a physics-based simulation model to examine post-earthquake fire spread. Journal of Earthquake Engineering 14(5), 688 – 705.
Lee, S., and Davidson, R. 2010. Physics-based simulation model of post-earthquake fire spread. Journal of Earthquake Engineering 14(5), 670 – 687.

Vaziri, P., Davidson, R., Nozick, L., and Hosseini, M. 2009. Resource allocation for regional earthquake risk mitigation: A case study of Tehran, Iran. Natural Hazards 53, 527-546.


Davidson, R. 2009. Modeling Post-earthquake fire ignitions using generalized linear (mixed) models. Journal of Infrastructure Systems 15(4), 351-360.


Tabucchi, T., Davidson, R., and Brink, S. 2010. Simulation of post-earthquake water supply system restoration. Civil Engineering and Environmental Systems 27(4), 263-279. #1 most read article in journal as of April 2012.


Lee, S., Davidson, R., Scawthorn, C., and Ohnishi, N. 2008. Fire following earthquake- Review of the state-of-the-art modeling. Earthquake Spectra, 24(4), 1-35.


Han, S., Guikema, S., Quiring, S., Lee, K., Rosowsky, D., and Davidson, R. 2009. Estimating the spatial distribution of power outages during hurricanes in the Gulf Coast region. Reliability Engineering and System Safety 94(2), 199-210.


Liu, H., Davidson, R., and Apanasovich, T. 2008. Spatial generalized linear mixed models of electric power outages due to hurricanes and ice storms. Reliability Engineering and System Safety 93(6), 897-912.


Liu, H., Davidson, R., and Apanasovich, T. 2007. Statistical forecasting of electric power restoration times in hurricanes and ice storms. IEEE Transactions on Power Systems 22(4), 2270-2279.


Cagnan, Z., and Davidson, R. 2007. Discrete event simulation of the post-earthquake restoration process for electric power systems. International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management 7(8), 1138-1156.


Xu, N., Guikema, S., Davidson, R., Nozick, L., Cagnan, Z., and Vaziri, K. 2007. Optimizing scheduling of post-earthquake electric power restoration tasks. Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, Special Issue: Electric Power 36(2), 265-284.


Xu, N., Davidson, R., Nozick, L., and Dodo, A. 2007. The risk-return tradeoff in optimizing regional earthquake mitigation investment. Structure and Infrastructure Engineering 3(2), 133-146.


Jain, V., and Davidson, R. 2007. Application of a regional hurricane wind risk forecasting model for wood-frame houses. Risk Analysis 27(1), 45-58. Winner of Best Paper Award, Society for Risk Analysis.


Jain, V., and Davidson, R. 2007. Forecasting changes in the hurricane wind vulnerability of a building inventory. Journal of Infrastructure Systems 13(1), 1-12.


Dodo, A., Davidson, R., Xu, N., and Nozick, L. 2007. Application of regional earthquake mitigation optimization. Computers and Operations Research 34(8), 2478-2494.


Cagnan, Z., Davidson, R., and Guikema, S. 2006. Post-earthquake restoration planning for Los Angeles electric power. Earthquake Spectra 22(3), 1-20.


Guikema, S., Davidson, R., and Liu, H. 2006. Statistical models of the effects of tree trimming on power system reliability. IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery 21(3), 1549-1557.


Davidson, R., Lembo, Jr., A., Ma, J., Nozick, L., and O'Rourke, T. 2006. Optimization of investments in natural gas distribution networks. Journal of Energy Engineering 132(2), 1-9.


Liu, H., Davidson, R. Rosowsky, D. and Stedinger, J. 2005. Negative binomial regression of electric power outages in hurricanes. Journal of Infrastructure Systems 11(4), 258-267.


Dodo, A., Xu, N. Davidson, R. and Nozick, L. 2005. Optimizing regional earthquake mitigation investment strategies. Earthquake Spectra 21(2), 305-327.


(Kumar) Jain, V., Davidson, R., and Rosowsky, D. 2005. Modeling changes in hurricane risk over time. Natural Hazards Review 6(2), 88-96.

Courses Taught

Fall CIEG 641 Risk Analysis
Spring CIEG 315 Probability and Statistics

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