Connections 2040: Plan for a Greater Philadelphia (Pennsylvania)

“Connections 2040: Plan for Greater Philadelphia” outlines strategies that communities can use to prepare their transportation system for the impacts of climate change, and includes examples of how cities within the greater Philadelphia region are using adaptation planning to enhance their transportation projects. Connections 2040 is the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s (DVRPC) long-range transportation plan, and is built around four core principles: manage growth and protect the environment; create livable communities; build the economy; and establish a modern multimodal transportation system. DVRPC is the metropolitan planning organization for the greater Philadelphia area.

To support the principle “manage growth and protect the environment,” Connections 2040 includes a goal to prepare communities for the impacts of climate change, and identifies strategies that DVRPC and communities can take. These include:

  • Incorporate existing and projected changes in the climate system at the regional and local scale into local plans and projections;
  • Use climate projections, not historical precedents, to plan, maintain, and construct transportation system elements, such as pavements, bridges, drainage structures, catenaries, and rails;
  • Incorporate green infrastructure into urban stormwater management systems to reduce flooding, protect and restore vegetated riparian buffers, maintain naturally functioning floodplains, and enhance wetlands; and
  • Establish cooling centers for extreme heat days.

Connections 2040 also references adaptation planning case studies from the City of Chester and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). The City of Chester worked with DVRPC and PA Sea Grant to prepare a climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation strategies (released in June 2014), and SEPTA worked with DVRPC and ICF International to pilot a test approach for assessing the vulnerability of SEPTA’s regional rail system to the projected changes in climate; SEPTA’s report was completed in August 2013.

In 2016, DVRPC is in the process of updating its long-range plan, which will be called Connections 2045: Greater Philadelphia Future Forces. In developing this update, DVRPC has identified five Future Forces of change for the Greater Philadelphia Area that are shaping the region’s future and impact demographics, development patterns, use of the regional transportation system, the economy, and the environment. These five Future Forces, which include “Severe Climate,” have been used to develop scenarios to consider how the region may be re-shaped in the future.


This Adaptation Clearinghouse entry was prepared with support  from the Federal Highway Administration. This entry was last updated on July 6, 2016.


Publication Date: September 2013

Related Organizations:

  • Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Plans (other)

States Affected:


  • Air temperature
  • Flooding
  • Precipitation changes

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