• 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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Boston Architectural College Green Alley Initiative

October 2013

The Boston Architectural College (BAC) installed a green alley demonstration project on its campus located in the Back Bay area of Boston along the Charles River.   The green alley used permeable pavement to allow stormwater to percolate through the road bed to recharge groundwater and filter pollutants.   The project was designed to be replicable and to help with public education on the benefits and design of green infrastructure. The purpose of the green alley is to reduce polluted runoff by filtering and redirecting rainfall to the groundwater table.

Related Organizations: Boston Architectural College, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Climate Risk Assessment for United Kingdom's "High Speed Two" Rail Network

November 2013

The UK Government's proposed design for a new high speed railway between London and points north considered climate change-related risks, including flooding of tracks and overheating in tunnels. The risk assessment report discusses how those risks will be addressed in the proposed design for the project. The proposed project, High Speed Two (HS2), is designed to link eight of Britain’s ten largest cities and increase the capacity of the country’s rail infrastructure. The project is expected to cost 16 billion British pounds, with service to start in 2026.

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Seattle, Washington Department of Transportation (Seattle DOT) Elliott Bay Seawall Project

November 2013

The City of Seattle (City), through its Department of Transportation (SDOT), began a project to replace an aging seawall in Elliott Bay that protects and supports critical transportation infrastructure from coastal storms and shoreline erosion.   The original seawall was built between 1916 and 1934 atop timber piles and is at risk of failure in the event of an earthquake due to years of deterioration of the timber caused by waves and tidal forces. The updated seawall will have a minimum 75-year lifespan, provide protection for critical infrastructure (taking sea-level rise into consideration), meet current seismic standards, and improve natural habitat and salmon migration pathways.

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

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Dane County, Wisconsin 2014 Budget - climate adaptation funding for infrastructure

November 2013

The 2014 Dane County, Wisconsin executive budget proposal asked for nearly $1 million in funding for climate adaptation, including several transportation infrastructure improvements such as larger culverts for increased precipitation runoff. This is the first time that the Dane County Executive has included requests for climate adaptation funding in its budget. The County Board adopted the proposed budget in November 2013.

Related Organizations: Dane County, Wisconsin Climate Change Action Council

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Rebuilding Minnesota Highway 210 near Jay Cooke State Park

November 2013

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) implemented several different solutions to address damage to Minnesota Highway 210 near Jay Cooke State Park to improve the future resilience of the highway. Measures include custom culvert design, soil stabilization, and replacing culverts with bridges. Multiple sections of Highway 210 remain closed while MnDOT conducts damage assessments and develops long-term plans.

Related Organizations: Minnesota Department of Transportation

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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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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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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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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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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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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