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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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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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New York City’s MTA Adaptations to Climate Change – A Categorical Imperative

October 2008

New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) commissioned this report, “MTA Adaptations to Climate Change: A Categorical Imperative,” to provide a risk-based framework for adapting MTA facilities to climate change impacts.   The assessment covers the entire MTA region, which includes New York City, 12 counties in southeastern New York, and two counties in southwestern Connecticut. Specifically, the report identifies steps for completing a vulnerability assessment; develops climate change scenarios for the region; conducts an initial survey of key vulnerabilities of MTA assets and operations by agency and type of hazard; and offers recommendations for ways that the MTA can assess critical infrastructure, plan for, and implement climate change adaptation projects.

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

Authors or Affiliated Users: Klaus Jacob, Cynthia Rosenzweig, Radley Horton, David Major, Vivien Gornitz

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Estimating Future Costs for Alaska Public Infrastructure at Risk from Climate Change

June 2007

The Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Alaska Anchorage created a model to estimate how much climate change could add to the costs of maintaining public infrastructure in Alaska in the near future (by 2030). This report describes how that model was developed, and presents preliminary estimates of additional public infrastructure costs resulting from climate change. The report concludes that a changing climate could make it 10 to 20 percent more expensive to build and maintain infrastructure, and that climate change induced damages could add $3.

Related Organizations: University of Alaska Anchorage, Institute of Social and Economic Research (University of Alaska-Anchorage)

Authors or Affiliated Users: Peter Larsen, Scott Goldsmith, Orson Smith, Meghan Wilson, Ken Strzepek, Paul Chinowsky, Ben Saylor

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Report: “Climate Change Will Impact the Seattle Department of Transportation”

August 9, 2005

Seattle’s Office of City Auditor conducted a review of the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to identify potential operations, services or structures that could be significantly impacted by anticipated changes in the climate of the Pacific Northwest region. The resulting report “Climate Change Will Impact the Seattle Department of Transportation” is designed to assess the potential impacts on Seattle’s transportation operations and infrastructure, raise awareness, and assist policymakers in developing adaptive strategies.

Related Organizations: Seattle Department of Transportation, University of Washington, City of Seattle, Washington

Authors or Affiliated Users: Wendy K. Soo Hoo, Megumi Sumitani, Susah Cohen

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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California State Route 37 Stewardship Study

February 2016

The University of California Davis Road Ecology Center undertook a stewardship study to assess the risk to California State Route 37 (SR 37) from sea-level rise.  SR 37 passes near San Francisco Bay, connecting Interstate 80 and Highway 101.  The road corridor and surrounding wetlands are threatened by sea-level rise and flooding. The road bed sits below sea level at its lowest elevation and is likely to experience erosion, flooding during storms, and inundation due to sea-level rise. The State Road 37 Stewardship Study (Study) included a stakeholder process and technical analyses to determine possible future solutions to reduce the vulnerability of the highway to climate impacts.

Related Organizations: University of California, Davis, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Sonoma Ecology Center

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Adapting to Climate Change in Coastal Parks: Estimating the Exposure of Park Assets to 1 meter of Sea-Level Rise - Transportation Assets

May 2015

The National Park Service (NPS) produced this report assessing assets in coastal parks that may be threatened by a future one-meter rise in sea level. Over 10,000 assets were evaluated, including roads and trails, and 39 percent of assets (or $40 billion worth) in 40 coastal parks were designated as “high exposure. ” The report was intended to provide an overview of NPS' exposure to sea-level rise, but was not designed to inform decision-making about specific assets at the park-level. The analysis provides a methodology for assessing exposure of systems at a national or regional scale.

Related Organizations: National Park Service (NPS)

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Federal Triangle Stormwater Drainage Study

October 2011

The Federal Triangle Stormwater Drainage study analyzed the causes of a 2006 flood event that put the Federal Triangle Area of Washington D. C. under up to 3 feet of water, including several major traffic arteries, tunnels, and subway stations. The Study analyzes possible alternatives to reducing the risk of interior drainage flooding, including permeable pavements and other Low Impact Development (LID) techniques. In considering the causes of flooding in the area, the Study uses the 200-year flood as a proxy for assessing how climate change may increase flood risks and the frequency of severe storm events.

Related Organizations: National Park Service (NPS)

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Development of a Methodology for the Assessment of Sea Level Rise Impacts on Florida’s Transportation Modes and Infrastructure

January 2012

This report provides a methodology for assessing the impacts of sea-level rise (SLR) on Florida transportation infrastructure. The report analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of different methods of forecasting SLR in Florida and provides recommendations for how those methods should be used by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The report also provides recommendations for identifying vulnerable transportation assets and addressing potential impacts of SLR to those assets. After this methodology was developed, FDOT funded a subsequent project to develop a GIS-based planning tool that aids in statewide and regional assessments of transportation asset vulnerability to SLR.

Related Organizations: Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Atlantic University (FAU)

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Responding to Climate Change in New York State: ClimAID – Transportation Chapter

November 2011

This state-level assessment provides information on New York's vulnerability to climate change and is specifically designed to assist in the development of adaptation strategies. The goal of the Integrated Assessment for Effective Climate Change Adaptation Strategies in New York State (ClimAID) is to provide decision-makers with progressive information on climate change effects on the state, and to facilitate adaptation planning. The ClimAID report reviews climate change impacts and adaptation options for eight sectors in New York including water resources, coastal zones, ecosystems, agriculture, energy, transportation, public health and telecommunications.

Related Organizations: Cornell University, Columbia University, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Climate Change Adaptation in the Metropolitan Washington Region: Draft Transportation Sector Vulnerabilities

August 2011

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) Transportation Vulnerability Assessment was developed as part of a broader climate change adaptation initiative.  This preliminary vulnerability assessment for the transportation sector identifies the possible climate impacts to the transportation sector, including roads and bridges, rail, facilities and buildings, bicycle and pedestrian buildings, and airports.

Related Organizations: Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG, COG)

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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