The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines, Appendix 2: Climate Change Projections

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) in 2011 created Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines to rate agency infrastructure projects using a point system and checklist that incorporates design evaluation based on climate change projections for temperature, precipitation, and flood elevation. The Guidelines require application of these climate change projections and evaluation of impacts in order to receive points for the “Site Assessment” phase of project design, which generally involves assessing existing conditions and using the information to identify best management practices (BMPs) for the project. Most PANYNJ capital infrastructure projects, including bridges and tunnels, marine structures, roadways, and other transportation infrastructure, are required to use the Guidelines and achieve at least a Certified rating. 

Appendix 2 of the Guidelines contains the climate change projections and instructions for applying them during project design evaluation. The regional projections are based upon information provided by the Columbia Center for Climate Change Systems Research. They include mean annual air temperature (projected 6 degree F increase by 2080s), precipitation (projected 10% increase by 2080s), and flood elevation (projected 18 inch mean increase in sea levels). For flood elevation, the projections correspond to the current FEMA 100-year flood level plus 2.5 feet. At the time of adopting the projections incorporated in Appendix 2 of the Guidelines, PANYNJ was participating in two climate change studies for New York City and New York State to assist with PANYNJ infrastructure resiliency efforts. PANYNJ specified that it will review and/or update the climate change projections every two years. It is unclear whether the projections have been reviewed for the purpose of updating these Guidelines since the last update to the Guidelines in 2011, however, the PANYNJ Engineering Department developed separate Climate Resilience Design Guidelines to go with the Engineering Department Manual.

PANYNJ rates all agency infrastructure projects using the Guidelines and assigns a level of certification (Certified, Gold, or Platinum) based on the total number of points achieved. Projects can receive points for a variety of features and at many different stages of design, one of which is the “Site Assessment” phase. The purpose of Site Assessment is to assess existing conditions at the proposed site that may affect the natural or cultural quality of the site, and to identify BMPs for the project to mitigate impacts. There are a number of requirements to receive points for Site Assessment, one of which is to evaluate all aspects of project design and identify impacts using the climate change projections provided in Appendix 2. If there are factors preventing project managers from incorporating the projections into all project design elements, then they are required to focus on to the most critical project elements (i.e., elements where any service disruption would result in significant impacts to facility operations). In addition to evaluating climate change impacts, project managers are also required to document local and regional climate information, including temperature, humidity, rainfall, and wind, to receive points for a Site Assessment.

 

This Adaptation Clearinghouse entry was prepared with support from the Federal Highway Administration. This entry was last updated on October 20, 2015.

 

Publication Date: March 23, 2011

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  • The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

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  • Agency guidance/policy

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