U.S. Department of Transportation's Gulf Coast Study

The U.S. Department of Transportation conducted the Gulf Coast Study to better understand the range of potential climate change impacts on transportation infrastructure and identify possible strategies for adapting infrastructure. It was conducted in two major phases, starting with Phase 1 (completed in 2008), and ending with the completion of Phase 2 in 2015.

Phase 1 of the study investigated climate impacts on the regional transportation system in the Gulf Coast region stretching from Houston/Galveston, Texas to Mobile, Alabama. Phase 1 assessed the potential impacts to coastal ports, roadways, aviation facilities, rail, and public transit systems from likely changes in temperature and precipitation, sea-level rise, and increased severity and frequency of coastal storms.

Phase 2 of the study involved a more detailed vulnerability assessment of the transportation system specifically in the Mobile, Alabama region. USDOT analyzed the vulnerability of the region's most critical transportation assets to climate change impacts, using a variety of vulnerability assessment support tools that were developed over the course of the study. The intent of this second study phase was to develop tools and methods that would be widely replicable to other regions. Several transportation agencies that participated in the second round of FHWA-funded climate resilience pilot projects utilized and tested pre-publication versions of these tools as well. The vulnerability assessment tools developed and refined through Gulf Coast Phase 2 are now publicly available for use by transportation agencies across the country; they include:


If you have any trouble accessing the website link above, please find here an archived page. You may find this has limited use. https://web.archive.org/web/20170121205803/https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/sustainability/resilience/ongoing_and_current_research/gulf_coast_study/index.cfm.

Publication Date: January 2015

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Resource Types:

  • Assessment
  • Tool (general)

States Affected:


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