Measuring the economics of resilient infrastructure

What is in the MERIT toolbox?

The MERIT toolbox comprises a suite of 'Integrated Spatial Decision Support Systems' that estimate the economic consequences associated with disruption events.

Disruptions are evaluated through time (i.e. it covers both the event and the subsequent response, recovery and rebuild phases), across space (i.e. by detailed spatial location, region and nation as a whole) and for multiple stakeholders (i.e. households and industries).

Uniquely, the MERIT suite captures household and business behavioural adaptation that may occur following an event. The toolbox is currently being augmented to include evaluation of uncertainty, distributional impacts, multi-capital impacts, and decisions under conditions of deep uncertainty.

Our team also has the capability in applying the modelling results to business case development, mitigation, and adaptation planning. and risk communication.


The MERIT toolbox is a set of inter-related modules.

  • Inoperability MERIT provides data for short-run outages (between 1-day and 1-week) from localised small-scale disruption events such an electricity, gas, or telecommunication outages. It is designed to assess the economic impacts associated with sizeable disruption events. 

  • Non-Spatial MERIT too is the key MERIT tool. It is designed to assess the economic impacts associated with sizeable disruption events.

  • Spatial MERIT is at the cutting edge of international Integrated Assessment Modelling, with a spatial resolution of 100m x 100m, a daily time step, and ability to run over a 30-year time horizon. It is currently in use as a research tool solely focused on the Auckland Region.

Key features of MERIT

  • MERIT can assess economic impacts for different sizes of infrastructure outages. As an event unfolds, the suite of tools can provide a quick assessment of the likely impending economic impact.

  • MERIT can measure the nature and distribution of effects and changes as the economy recovers from the disruption.

  • MERIT can add value to investment planning by assessing the socio-economic implications of any set of resilience investment options.

  • MERIT provides a high resolution assessment across space and through time of the economic consequences of infrastructure failure (rather than generating just a single $ value at a point in time). 

  • MERIT takes into account business response and recovery options giving an estimate of total economic loss generated. Outputs describe local, regional and national impacts. 


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