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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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U.S. GAO Climate Change report: Future Federal Adaptation Efforts Could Better Support Local Infrastructure Decision-Makers – Transportation Findings

May 14, 2013

The U. S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report that analyzed findings on the impacts of climate change on the nation’s infrastructure, including roads and bridges, and provided recommendations for Executive action to improve the resilience of the nation’s infrastructure. To develop the report, the GAO analyzed National Research Council (NRC) and the U. S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) climate change assessments and reports, conducted interviews with professional and agency stakeholders, and went on site visits to seven locations where adaptation measures have been integrated into infrastructure project planning.

Related Organizations: U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Tucson, Arizona Rebates for Curb Cuts to Harvest Rainwater

July 2015

In Tucson, curb cuts can reduce flooding on streets and capture water for irrigation in the arid region. Tucson began offering water harvesting rebates for the installation of curb cuts, openings created in the curb to allow stormwater from the street to flow into water-harvesting basins. Curb cuts are used to reduce the amount of stormwater flowing down the street, often diverting that water into basins to irrigate vegetation. The Tucson City Council voted in November 2014 to expand the city’s rainwater harvesting rebate program to provide rebates for curb cut installation.

Related Organizations: City of Tucson, Arizona, City of Tucson, Water Department, Tucson Water

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Transportation Research Board (TRB) NCHRP: A Pre-Event Recovery Planning Guide for Transportation

2013

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) developed Report 753: A Pre-Event Recovery Planning Guide for Transportation, which provides an overview of steps involved in planning and preparing for the recovery of critical transportation infrastructure after a catastrophic event such as a severe storm or wildfire. The Guide was developed to assist transportation owners, operators and planners with pre-event recovery planning.

Related Organizations: Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies, The National Academies

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Transportation Elements of the City of Baltimore Disaster Preparedness and Planning Project (DP3)

October 2013

The City of Baltimore incorporated consideration of climate change in a combined all hazard mitigation and climate adaptation plan (“plan”); the plan was developed through a disaster preparedness and planning project (“DP3”).   The DP3 plan examines the vulnerability of the city’s transportation systems, including transit systems and critical transportation routes, among other vulnerabilities. 

Related Organizations: City of Baltimore, Maryland

Resource Category: Planning

 

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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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Toward Sustainable Pavement Systems: A Reference Document

January 2015

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) guide, “Toward Sustainable Pavement Systems: A Reference Document,” synthesizes current knowledge on pavement system sustainability, including the effects that pavement has on climate-related considerations such as stormwater runoff and the urban heat island effect. The guide includes information and extensive synopses of current research on how pavement materials, design, construction, maintenance, and other use considerations can affect and enhance sustainability.

Related Organizations: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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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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The Innovative DOT: A Handbook of Policy and Practice (Focus Area 7: Integrate Transportation and Land Use Decision-Making – Climate Change Resilience and Long-Range Planning Section)

January 2015

“The Innovative DOT: A Handbook of Policy and Practice,” developed by the State Smart Transportation Initiative and Smart Growth America, contains a resiliency section that provides guidance for state departments of transportation (DOTs) on how to incorporate climate change adaptation into long-range transportation planning. It provides state DOTs with a comprehensive list of reforms that will address potential climate-related vulnerabilities and reduce the likelihood, magnitude, duration and cost of disruption associated with extreme weather.

Related Organizations: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

Resource Category: Planning

 

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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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The City of Lewes, Delaware Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Action Plan - Transportation Components

June 2011

In 2011, the City of Lewes, Delaware undertook a pilot project to develop a unified Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Action Plan, which considers the City’s vulnerability to climate change, particularly sea-level rise, and includes an evaluation of the vulnerability of roads and critical evacuation routes.   

Related Organizations: Delaware Sea Grant, University of Delaware, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability

Resource Category: Planning

 

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