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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.

Resources are automatically presented by rating, but can also be sorted by date and title. Apply additional filters to narrow the list by climate impact, region, transportation mode or stage of decision-making, state, or jurisdictional focus.

 

 

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Maryland Climate Change and "Coast Smart" Construction (Executive Order 01.01.2012.29) – Application to Transportation Infrastructure and Facilities

December 28, 2012

On December 28, 2012, then-Governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, Executive Order 01.01.2012.29, Climate Change and “Coast Smart” Construction, directing all state agencies to consider the risk of coastal flooding and sea level rise in the siting and design of state structures to avoid or minimize impacts. The order applies to all state facilities and structures, including transportation facilities.

Related Organizations: Maryland Department of Natural Resources, State of Maryland

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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The Infrastructure and Climate Network (ICNet)

The Infrastructure and Climate Network (ICNet) brings together climate scientists, engineering researchers, private practitioners, and transportation officials to support adaptation in the transportation sector in the Northeast US.   The focus of ICNet is to deliver data, tools, partnerships, and education to help transportation agencies understand potential climate impacts to the transportation system and identify engineering solutions to prepare roads, bridges, and other infrastructure for the effects of climate change.

Related Organizations: University of New Hampshire

Resource Category: Organizations

 

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Prince George’s County, Maryland Complete Streets Initiative

November 2012

In 2012, the Prince George’s County Council in Maryland passed a Complete Streets Ordinance that requires officials to incorporate measures to manage runoff and increase access for all roadway users (bicyclists, pedestrians, etc. ) on public and some private roadways. The ordinance directs county officials to incorporate environmental site design into road, trail, sidewalk, and transit construction projects to ensure that stormwater runoff is well-managed and that roads are accessible to everyone.

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Reconstruction of Wacker Drive (Chicago, Illinois) Using High Performance Concrete

November 2012

The City of Chicago redesigned and rebuilt the iconic two-level Wacker Drive using high performance concrete to be resilient to a variety of extreme weather conditions, such as severe freeze-thaw cycles. To prevent the same deterioration that had occurred with the previous design, the city required that the redesigned upper deck be built for a minimum 100-year service life, be chemically resistant to de-icing salts and have no cracks during the deck's 100-year life.

Related Organizations: Chicago Department of Transportation, Illinois Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), City of Chicago, Illinois

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Transportation During and After Hurricane Sandy (New York, New Jersey)

November 2012

This report details the efforts New York and New Jersey took to prepare for impacts to the transportation system before Hurricane Sandy, and measures state and local entities took after the storm to restore service and to improve the system. Although the report does not talk about climate change specifically, the measures discussed could be used to increase the resilience of transportation systems to extreme weather and impacts of climate change. The report also details investments that state and local entities could make to increase the resilience of transportation system such as installing backup power for subway pumps, increasing the use of porous pavements in flood-prone areas, and locating generators and fuel sources above flood elevations or out of floodplains.

Related Organizations: New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), City of New York, New York

Authors or Affiliated Users: Sarah Kaufman, Carson Qing, Nolan Levenson, Melinda Hanson

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Atlantic City - Compressed Natural Gas Jitney Buses Used for Evacuations During Hurricane Sandy

November 2012

Atlantic City, New Jersey used minibuses known as “jitneys” that were powered by compressed natural gas in their emergency planning efforts for Hurricane Sandy. Because the vehicles run on an alternative fuel, they were able to continue operating when gasoline was in short supply during and after the hurricane.

Related Organizations: Atlantic City Office of Emergency Management

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Pilsen Sustainable Streets (Chicago, Illinois Department of Transporation)

October 9, 2012

On October 9, 2012, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) completed the first phase of the Pilsen Sustainable Streets project, which uses permeable pavement and green infrastructure elements to address current and projected increases in temperature and precipitation. The sustainability project, described as the “greenest street in America,” consists of a two-mile stretch of Blue Island Avenue and Cermak Road located in the Pilsen neighborhood. The project features will help reduce flooding, manage stormwater, and reduce temperatures, allowing CDOT to address two potential climate impacts with the same project.

Related Organizations: Chicago Department of Transportation, City of Chicago, Illinois

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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FHWA INVEST Tool – Infrastructure Resiliency Criteria

October 2012

The Federal Highway Administration’s INVEST Tool (Tool) provides a collection of voluntary best practices (“criteria”) and associated point values to help transportation agencies and practitioners evaluate and improve the sustainability and climate resilience of their projects and programs. The Tool allows transportation agencies to evaluate the sustainability of their agency practices and projects across the entire transportation lifecycle, by self-assigning points based on how well they have met requirements set out for each particular criterion.

Related Organizations: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Michigan DOT I-696 Slope Restoration Project

Fall 2012

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) restored roadside slopes along approximately 9 miles of I-696 between I-75 and I-94 using alternative plants that are heat and drought resistant and will help stabilize the slopes to prevent erosion.   The slope restoration project is part of an effort to reduce stormwater runoff from roadways and thereby protect the quality of Michigan waterways.   The 55,000 plants, shrubs, and trees selected create a variable-depth root structure to help stabilize the steep slopes and reduce runoff volume and velocity, particularly during intense rain events that are projected to increase in intensity and variability with climate change.

Related Organizations: Michigan Department of Transportation

Author or Affiliated User: Michigan Department of Transportation

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Kenai Fjords National Park – Protection of Exit Glacier Road

September 2012

The National Park Service (NPS) has taken interim and long-term measures to repair and reinforce a one-mile section of the access road to Exit Glacier, the most accessible and popular area of Kenai Fjords National Park, to address flooding damage exacerbated by climate impacts. While flooding is a recurring event in the glacial area, less predictable flow patterns and increased flood frequency due to climate change have destabilized drainage on the road. NPS worked with highway engineers to design an interim solution, using concrete barriers to keep flood waters off the road, while continuing to study long-term stabilization solutions.

Related Organizations: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), National Park Service (NPS)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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