This paper presents and discusses the recent developments related to seismic performance and assessment of buried pipelines. The experience from the performance of pipelines during last earthquakes provided invaluable information and lead to new developments in the analysis and technologies. Especially, the pipeline performance during Canterbury earthquake sequence in New Zealand is taken as a case study here. The data collected for the earthquake sequence are unprecedented in size and detail, involving ground motion recordings from scores of seismograph stations, high resolution light detection and ranging (LiDAR) measurements of vertical and lateral movements after each event, and detailed repair records for thousands of km of underground pipelines with coordinates for the location of each repair. One of the important learnings from the recent earthquakes is that some earthquake resistant design and technologies proved to be working. This provides a motivation to increase international exchange and cooperation on earthquake resistant technologies. Another observation is that preventive maintenance is important to reduce the pipeline damage risk from seismic and other hazards. To increase the applicability and sustainability, seismic improvements should be incorporated into the pipe replacement and asset management programs as part of the preventive maintenance concept. However, it is also important to put in the most proper pipeline from the start as replacing or retrofitting the pipelines later requires substantial investment. In this respect, seismic considerations should be taken into account properly in the design phase. © The Author(s) 2015.
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