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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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Edmonston, Maryland Green Streets Project

2010

Edmonston, a small town near Washington DC in Prince George’s County, MD, created a “green street” to address previous problems with flooding on Decatur Street near the Anacostia River. The town wanted to better manage that flooding and improve water quality, as well as to manage traffic by narrowing the street.   The project utilizes a variety of green infrastructure tools to reduce stormwater runoff, thereby decreasing the amount of polluted water that enters the Anacostia River.   While the project does not specifically reference climate change as a motivation, the methodology and considerations for this project, could be useful for a jurisdiction that will experience heavier precipitation due to climate change.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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The City of Keene, New Hampshire’s Adaptation Planning Activities – Transportation Elements

September 13, 2010

This case study details efforts in Keene, New Hampshire to assess the vulnerability of transportation assets to future climate impacts and to recommend adaptive responses in city land-use and transportation plans. Keene’s 2007 Adaptation Action Plan identified transportation infrastructure vulnerable to climate impacts and suggested strategies to improve its resiliency. In 2010, Keene incorporated recommendations from the Adaptation Plan into the city’s Comprehensive Master Plan, which provides the general template for future zoning and land-use regulations in the City, including decisions about the city road system.

Related Organizations: City of Keene, New Hampshire

Resource Category: Planning

 

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French Broad River MPO Long Range Transportation Plan – Climate Change Chapter

September 23, 2010

The French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), which includes Asheville, North Carolina and the surrounding area, included a climate change chapter in its 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), adopted in 2010. The chapter identifies the impacts that climate change has already caused in the mountains of Western North Carolina, and concludes that the primary future impact in the region will be climate variability. The chapter considers the risks expected to increase with greater temperature and precipitation variability, and identifies steps the MPO can take to adapt its infrastructure.

Related Organizations: French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Surfer’s Point Managed Retreat Project – Relocation of Transportation Facilities

The Surfer’s Point Managed Shoreline Retreat Project involved the relocation of a bike path and parking lot along 1,800 feet of shoreline in City of San Buenaventura, Ventura County. The transportation assets affected by the project include a damaged bike path, a 223-space parking lot for the Ventura County Fairgrounds, and Shoreline Drive.  Surfer’s Point is a beach and popular surf break at mouth of the Ventura River. 

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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2060 Florida Transportation Plan

December 2010

The “2060 Florida Transportation Plan” provides transportation planning guidance for the state, and includes emergency preparedness and resilience planning in its long-range objectives. The Plan, developed by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), sets high-level transportation objectives for the state, and offers implementation strategies to meet those objectives.

Related Organizations: Florida Department of Transportation

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Charlotte County-Punta Gorda 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan

December 2010

The Charlotte County – Punta Gorda Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) Long Range Transportation Plan contains a section on hazard mitigation designed to help the MPO identify specific roadways and properties within the region that are at risk of sea-level rise and storm surges, and identify strategies that can help protect the region from these climate-change-induced hazards. Chapter 13 profiles natural and man-made hazards that are common in the MPO area; presents estimates of the level of exposure and vulnerability of various components of the transportation system; describes a scenario-based planning exercise to integrate hazard mitigation into collaborative land-use and transportation planning; identifies various mitigation strategies to reduce the vulnerability of the transportation system; and suggests and incorporates a new set of goals and objectives into the LRTP.

Related Organizations: Charlotte County - Punta Gorda, Florida Metropolitan Planning Organization

Resource Category: Planning

 

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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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