Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Options Study for Oregon

In 2014 the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) completed a study which assessed the vulnerability of the state’s transportation infrastructure to climate change and natural disasters. The Federal Highway Administration sponsored the report as part of a its Climate Change Resilience Pilot Program which assessed climate impacts for a number of states' transportation systems, and developed feasible adaptation strategies. As part of Oregon’s case study, ODOT, whose Adaptation Work Group provided guidance throughout the process, developed new sea level rise maps, collected baseline data, and used a case study to learn from existing coastal hazard mitigation projects - all of which are detailed in the report. Information and lessons learned from this pilot will inform adaptation best practices as Oregon manages its transportation system. Adaptation planning will help ODOT will use this assessment and adaptation planning to increase the resilience of its infrastructure and operations.  

ODOT assessed regulatory constraints and used Benefit-Cost analysis to address feasibility concerns, in order to prioritize adaptation action items. These Adaptation Options include strategies to address gaps in understanding risks, foster coordination between agencies, and integrate resilience into other planning efforts. Some of the specific recommendations involve:

  • increasing data monitoring, especially at high-risk sites
  • improving record keeping to better inform future Benefit-Cost analyses
  • making GIS sea level rise mapping tools more accessible for those involved in planning and maintenance of transportation systems
  • formalizing and planning detour routes in areas where main transportation corridors are threatened

ODOT finds that by participating in this pilot project, Oregon is reducing climate vulnerability, building long-term resilience, eliminating economic inefficiencies, reducing congestion and wasted time, utilizing tax dollars more efficiently, and reducing threats to human life.


Publication Date: December 2014

Related Organizations:

  • Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT)


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Assessment
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

States Affected:


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