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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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Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines

March 23, 2011

The Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines were developed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) to help project engineers and architects integrate sustainable engineering practices into the design and construction of all PANYNJ projects, which include new and reconstructed roadways, airfields, bridges, tunnels, and marine structures, among other infrastructure projects.  The guidelines are designed to reduce the environmental impacts of projects, and several of the guidelines involve adapting to climate change impacts.

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

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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

March 23, 2011

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.

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

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Miami-Dade County Roadmap for Adapting to Coastal Risk

March 3, 2011

With assistance from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center, the Miami-Dade County Office of Sustainability hosted a workshop for county department staff from across all sectors to learn about potential sea level rise (SLR) impacts on county assets and processes, provide input on a county-wide vulnerability assessment, and identify opportunities to adapt to SLR and other climate impacts. The workshop employed NOAA’s Roadmap for Adapting to Coastal Risk, which provides communities with a framework for conducting a participatory assessment of community vulnerability to coastal hazards as well as an approach for incorporating relevant risk information into local planning.

Related Organizations: National Association of Counties, Miami-Dade County Office of Sustainability, Miami-Dade County, Florida, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Alaska Highway Case Study: Heat Transfer, Permafrost Degradation, and Transportation Infrastructure Stability

2011

The Alaska University Transportation Center (AUTC) of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, has supported multiple projects to research measures to reduce permafrost thaw and the resulting impacts to roads, specifically along the Alaska Highway (the only road connecting Alaska to the continental U. S. ). Structural damage occurs when the permafrost under road infrastructure thaws. Thermal modeling demonstrates that the stability of permafrost below roadways and embankments is greatly affected by surface temperatures of roadways, and it has therefore been predicted that as the climate warms, permafrost degradation will be a major issue for the design and maintenance of roads in Alaska.

Related Organizations: University of Alaska Fairbanks

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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FHWA-HEP-12-010: The Use of Climate Information in Vulnerability Assessments

January 2011

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) memorandum “The Use of Climate Information in Vulnerability Assessments” provides guidance on how to access and use historical climate change information and projections of future climate conditions when performing vulnerability assessments for transportation systems. This memorandum describes several sources of climate information and technical assistance, and provides recommendations on how transportation planners can use this information as they consider their climate-related risks.

Related Organizations: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Identifying Surface Transportation Vulnerabilities and Risk Assessment Opportunities Under Climate Change: Case Study in Portland, Oregon

2011

Researchers at Portland State University (PSU) and the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium developed a framework for assessing climate change vulnerabilities to multi-modal transportation systems using a geographic information system (GIS). They used Portland as a case study for testing the GIS model and provided recommendations for how the GIS could be used to develop adaptive responses in the transportation sector. In the study, the researchers focused on two climate impacts that could affect surface transportation networks in Portland – flooding and landslides - and used GIS to model hazard locations in Portland.

Related Organizations: Portland State University, Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC)

Authors or Affiliated Users: Lindsay Walker, Miguel A. Figliozzi, Ashley R. Haire, John MacArthur

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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Winslow Way Street Redesign (Bainbridge Island, WA)

2011

The City of Bainbridge Island redesigned its main downtown street to update aging water infrastructure, improve walkability and multimodal uses, and better manage stormwater using more natural and vegetated solutions. The new design is more walkable and accessible, supports biking, better manages stormwater with green infrastructure practices, and encourages social cohesion through smart design. Over half a mile in length, this innovative redesign protects street trees and incorporates stormwater planters, rain gardens, and other methods to retain stormwater and prevent flooding.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Iowa Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Report – Findings Related to Infrastructure

2011

The Iowa Climate Change Adaptation & Resilience Report identifies barriers to and incentives for incorporating climate change information into local hazard mitigation and comprehensive planning processes, in order to improve community resilience to climate impacts through coordinated planning, hazard assessment, and infrastructure investment decision-making. The report presents the findings of a pilot project between the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Iowa stakeholders, developed through a series of meetings and workshops.

Related Organizations: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Michigan Cost-Benefit Model Evaluation of M222 Slope Stabilization

2011

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) tested a National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) cost-benefit model to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of a roadside slope stabilization project in light of future temperature and precipitation projections. The road, which is located on a portion of route M-222 along the Kalamazoo River in the City of Allegan, has a slope that has already experienced erosion caused by intense precipitation and flooding.  MDOT was in the process of stabilizing the slope using structural measures, rather than vegetative or other “soft” approaches.

Related Organizations: Michigan Department of Transportation

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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JFK Airport Runway 13R-31L Rehabilitation (John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York City, NY)

December 2010

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (“Port Authority”) renovated runway 13R-31L at JFK Airport with design features that will help mitigate the urban heat island effect and better manage stormwater. The renovation project featured a number of sustainable initiatives and climate change adaptation measures, designed to reduce the environmental impact of the airport over the lifetime of the runway. A life-cycle cost analysis led the Port Authority to utilize concrete pavement in place of asphalt.

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

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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