Central Texas Extreme Weather and Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment of Regional Transportation Infrastructure
Led by the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) and the City of Austin, Texas, this assessment is one of 19 national projects funded by the Federal Highway Administration to pilot approaches to conduct climate change and extreme weather vulnerability assessments of transportation infrastructure, and to analyze options for adapting and improving resiliency. Using the Department of Transportation’s Vulnerability Assessment Scoring Tool, the report evaluates the vulnerability of nine critical transportation assets – including Austin’s MetroRail Red Line and interstate highways – to climate stressors such as flooding, drought, extreme heat, wildfire, and icing.
Unlike coastal communities, the inland CAMPO region faces climate risks that are relatively localized (e.g. flooding) and gradual (e.g. drought effects). The assessment finds that less-maintained county and local roadways may be more sensitive to climate stressors than robustly designed critical transportation assets. Further, non-climate stressors – such as the expansion of impervious surface – can amplify climate-related impacts on the region’s infrastructure.
Recommendations from the assessment include:
- Incorporate extreme weather considerations into the 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan
- Expand the vulnerability assessment to select city and county roads, particularly those in rapidly urbanizing and industrializing areas
- Evaluate and implement adaptation options, such as elevating flood-prone assets, increasing drainage capacity, and improving public communication about road conditions
Publication Date: January 2015
- Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO)
- City of Austin Office of Sustainability
- U.S. Department of Transportation's Vulnerability Assessment Scoring Tool (VAST)
- FHWA Climate Change Resilience Pilots