• Transportation Resources

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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Elevating Roads in Norfolk, Virginia

February 2014

The Norfolk, Virginia Department of Public Works invested $2. 4 million to improve two waterfront streets, Brambleton and Colley Avenues, to reduce flood impacts.   To reduce tidal flooding of the roadway the city elevated and widened Brambleton Avenue and rebuilt the intersection of Brambleton and Colley Avenues. Brambleton Avenue is a principal artery in downtown Norfolk that runs along the Elizabeth River and crosses over an inlet called the Hague.   The project was implemented to address recurrent flooding that was already occurring in the area, which has caused frequent road closures.

Related Organizations: City of Norfolk, Virginia

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Maryland Climate Change and Coast Smart Construction Infrastructure Siting and Design Guidelines

January 31, 2014

In December 2012, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed an Executive Order (EO) entitled “Climate Change and ‘Coast Smart’ Construction,” requiring state agencies to consider risks of coastal flooding and sea-level rise in state capital budget projects, and requiring the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to develop guidelines for the siting and design of infrastructure and other projects. Pursuant to the EO, in January 2014, the DNR-led Climate Change and Coast Smart Construction Working Group published “Coast Smart” Guidelines that provide recommendations to institutionalize consideration of coastal flooding and sea-level rise in planning and constructing all new or rehabilitated state structural and infrastructure projects, as well as state-funded private projects.

Related Organizations: Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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New York State Bridge Scour Program

January 2014

New York has announced a program to upgrade 105 critical bridges across the state by repairing existing scour damage and increasing resilience to future damage from floods and extreme weather events.   The Bridge Scour Program will ensure that the essential transportation infrastructure remains safe and provides access for emergency responders during the severe weather events that have become more common in New York and may further increase in frequency and severity under future climate conditions.

Related Organizations: New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) , State of New York

Resource Category: Funding

 

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“Reimagining New York for a New Reality” Transportation Investments

January 7, 2014

In January 2014 during the State of the State address, New York’s Governor Cuomo announced a plan to invest $17 billion to rebuild New York’s infrastructure, including transportation systems, more resiliently in light of increasingly frequent extreme weather events. The comprehensive rebuilding program includes major reconstruction of the transit system, renovations to many old bridges, a new extensive weather detection system, and creation of a fuel reserve and backup power for gas stations along critical routes.

Related Organizations: State of New York

Resource Category: Funding

 

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Sand Berm to Protect Del Monte Avenue in Monterey, California

The shoreline along southern Monterey Bay has historically been subject to strong surge during storm events. These surge conditions are predicted to worsen in the future due to climate change. Each year on November 1, the City of Monterey creates a temporary sand berm to provide flood protection for Del Monte Avenue and an adjacent bike path.   Del Monte Avenue is a low-lying road that runs adjacent to the public beach.   The berm is designed to reduce the likelihood that storm surge will inundate the road.

Related Organizations: City of Monterey, California

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Assessment of the Body of Knowledge on Incorporating Climate Change Adaptation Measures into Transportation Projects

December 2013

Prepared for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), this report presents climate change adaptation actions from transportation agencies across the country, and best practices for implementing adaptive solutions. The report also discusses strategies and provides examples for evaluating the costs and benefits of adaptation.

Related Organizations: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Study for the City of Los Angeles – Transportation Assets

December 2013

The University of Southern California Sea Grant Program completed a Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Study for the City of Los Angeles that summarizes initial research on the potential impacts of sea-level rise on Los Angeles’s coastal and shoreline assets, including the Port of Los Angeles, the Pacific Coast Highway and other significant coastal roads. The study identifies the Los Angeles (LA) communities and infrastructure most threatened, and offers a suite of adaptation measures including several specific recommendations for safeguarding transportation assets.

Related Organizations: University of Southern California Sea Grant

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Alaska Highway Study: Groundwater Flow, Permafrost Degradation, and Transportation Infrastructure Stability

2013

The Alaska University Transportation Center (AUTC) of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, supported a research project to study the effects of groundwater flow on permafrost degradation and resulting road instability. The stability of permafrost below roadways and embankments is increasingly affected by warming surface temperatures caused by climate change, but may also be affected by heat transfer from groundwater flow. Studies have shown that groundwater flow can accelerate permafrost degradation by several orders of magnitude compared to thaw caused by heat transfer from the atmosphere alone.

Related Organizations: University of Alaska Fairbanks

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Chattanooga-Hamilton County/North Georgia 2040 Regional Transportation Plan

December 2013

The long-range regional transportation plan for the Chattanooga-Hamilton County/North Georgia Transportation Planning Organization (CHCNGA TPO), entitled “2040 Regional Transportation Plan” (2040 RTP), includes a report on Climate Change and Transportation Resiliency for the region. The Plan identifies critical transportation assets in the CHCNGA TPO region, assesses the potential vulnerability and risk for each asset across a range of potential impacts, and outlines planning, design and operations adaptation actions that could be deployed to mitigate potential vulnerabilities.

Related Organizations: Chattanooga-Hamilton County/North Georgia Transportation Planning Organization

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Vermont Culvert Rebuilding after Tropical Storm Irene

December 2013

Vermont experienced significant barriers to using disaster relief funding to install larger culverts after Tropical Storm Irene.   The storm caused massive damage to the state’s transportation infrastructure and warranted a presidential disaster declaration.   In the aftermath of the event, the Vermont Transportation agency (VTrans) and localities followed state regulations that required the installation of larger culverts to address increased stream flow and to allow for fish passage.   Localities, however, were denied reimbursement for these “improvements” by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the agency that administers disaster relief funding for rebuilding local roads and bridges.

Related Organizations: Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans), Georgetown Climate Center

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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