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Transportation Sector Case Studies

These resources include case studies of adaptation in the transportation sector, developed by the Georgetown Climate Center as part of a cooperative agreement with the Federal Highway Administration. The case studies include examples of how adaptation has been incorporated into decisionmaking at all stages of the transportation lifecycle: assessing vulnerability, planning, design, and operations and maintenance.

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Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Study for the City of Los Angeles – Transportation Assets

December 2013

The University of Southern California Sea Grant Program completed a Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Study for the City of Los Angeles that summarizes initial research on the potential impacts of sea-level rise on Los Angeles’s coastal and shoreline assets, including the Port of Los Angeles, the Pacific Coast Highway and other significant coastal roads. The study identifies the Los Angeles (LA) communities and infrastructure most threatened, and offers a suite of adaptation measures including several specific recommendations for safeguarding transportation assets.

Related Organizations: University of Southern California Sea Grant

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Alaska Highway Study: Groundwater Flow, Permafrost Degradation, and Transportation Infrastructure Stability

2013

The Alaska University Transportation Center (AUTC) of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, supported a research project to study the effects of groundwater flow on permafrost degradation and resulting road instability. The stability of permafrost below roadways and embankments is increasingly affected by warming surface temperatures caused by climate change, but may also be affected by heat transfer from groundwater flow. Studies have shown that groundwater flow can accelerate permafrost degradation by several orders of magnitude compared to thaw caused by heat transfer from the atmosphere alone.

Related Organizations: University of Alaska Fairbanks

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Recurrent Flooding Study for Tidewater Virginia – Transportation Impacts

January 14, 2013

This study makes projections for recurrent flooding in coastal Virginia, outlines the predicted impacts on transportation infrastructure, and offers planning and implementation activities to reduce risks to coastal infrastructure. The report provides an overview of available adaptation strategies for recurrent flooding, reviews their implementation around the world, and identifies specific strategies appropriate for Virginia.

Related Organizations: Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)

Authors or Affiliated Users: Molly Mitchell, Carl Hershner, Julie Herman, Dan Schatt, Pam Mason, Emily Eggington

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Resilience of New Jersey Transit (NJ TRANSIT) Assets to Climate Impacts

June 2012

This report assesses the potential vulnerability of New Jersey's state transit agency (NJ TRANSIT) stationary assets (rail, structures and buildings) to weather-related risks and projected climate impacts and identifies “cost-effective resilience strategies. ” While the assessment was underway, Hurricane Irene hit the state, causing $2 to $3 million in damages and losses in revenue and underscoring the need for NJ TRANSIT to plan for and build resilience against extreme weather events. The report quantifies the risks of a range of impacts to NJ TRANSIT assets given climate change scenarios over different planning timeframes (5, 10, 20 and 50 years).

Related Organizations: New Jersey (NJ) Transit

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Preparing for Tomorrow’s High Tide: Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment for the State of Delaware – Transportation Infrastructure

July 2012

This Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment describes and quantifies impacts of sea-level rise (SLR) on 79 resources in Delaware, including transportation resources. The Assessment discusses projections of SLR for Delaware, defines the method used to determine potential vulnerability to SLR, and provides analysis of each resource category. Among these resources, the Assessment addresses Delaware’s transportation infrastructure, including railroad lines, roads and bridges, and the Port of Wilmington.

Related Organizations: State of Delaware, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC)

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Hampton Roads Climate Change Adaptation Project

July 2012

Hampton Roads, Virginia engaged in a three-phase Climate Change Adaptation Project to identify impacts, assess the region’s vulnerabilities, and identify potential strategies for adapting to anticipated impacts. Part of the assessment focused on impacts to transportation infrastructure, although transportation impacts were only one issue of many analyzed in the three reports.

Related Organizations: Hampton Roads Planning District Commission

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Sea-Level Rise: A Transportation Vulnerability Assessment of the Wilmington, Delaware Region

July 2011

This assessment was prepared by the staff of the Wilmington Area Planning Council (WILMAPCO), the Metropolitan Planning Organization for New Castle County, Delaware and Cecil County, Maryland, to identify the vulnerabilities of the area’s transportation infrastructure to climate change. The body of the report is broken into five chapters:  background, methodology, regional impacts, cluster (neighborhood level) profiles, and policy recommendations.  

Related Organizations: Wilmington Area Planning Council

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Vulnerability Assessment for the Saco Bay, Maine Communities of Biddeford, Saco, Old Orchard Beach, and Scarborough – Vulnerable Transportation Infrastructure

April 13, 2011

This vulnerability assessment was conducted by the Saco Bay Sea Level Adaptation Working Group (SLAWG), and assessed the vulnerability of Saco Bay communities to sea-level rise (SLR), flooding and erosion. The assessment looked at vulnerabilities for the towns of Saco, Scarborough, Old Orchard Beach, and Biddeford. This Saco Bay region contains the largest contiguous stretch of beaches and coastal wetlands in the state and has experienced some of the state’s most severe erosion problems. Although the focus on the study was on the vulnerability of the communities as a whole, part of the assessment identified roads in the region that will be vulnerable to inundation under different SLR scenarios.

Related Organizations: Saco Bay Sea Level Adaptation Working Group (SLAWG), Maine State Planning Office, Maine Department of Conservation

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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PANYNJ Assessment of the Vulnerability to the Impacts of Climate Change

April 2011

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) conducted a vulnerability and risk assessment of the agency’s critical infrastructure to the anticipated effects of climate change, including sea-level rise and increased storm surge, precipitation, and temperatures.   PANYNJ analyzed climate-related vulnerability and level of risk for a wide variety of agency infrastructure, including airports, marine terminals, tunnels and bridges, rails, bus stations, and other facilities.   The risk analysis was used to prioritize the highest risk assets and develop adaptation strategies for those assets.

Related Organizations: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Oyster River (New Hampshire) Culvert Analysis Project

March 2010

In this project the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership (PREP) performed a vulnerability assessment of the hydrology and drainage system of the Oyster River watershed in southeastern New Hampshire and its capacity to adapt to climate change impacts and increased development. The project used a geographic information system (GIS) based watershed model to identify the road/stream crossing culverts that are vulnerable to failure due to extreme storms with increased precipitation, in combination with development of the watershed.

Related Organizations: New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership, U.S. EPA Climate Ready Estuaries

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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