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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.

Resources are automatically presented by rating, but can also be sorted by date and title. Apply additional filters to narrow the list by climate impact, region, transportation mode or stage of decision-making, state, or jurisdictional focus.

 

 

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Connecticut DOT - Walk Bridge Replacement Project

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) is replacing the Norwalk River Railroad Bridge (Walk Bridge) to address the current structure’s vulnerability to climate hazards such as storm damage and heat. The 118-year old Walk Bridge already experiences frequent and costly service failures, including closure failures due to extreme heat. CTDOT expects that heat-related operational failures will increase as the number of high-heat days increase with climate change.   The Walk Bridge is a “swing bridge” spanning the Norwalk River in the Southeast part of the state.

Related Organizations: Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT), Federal Transit Administration (FTA)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Elevated Floating Bridge on Washington State Route 520

Spring 2016

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is reconstructing the Evergreen Point floating bridge, which runs over Lake Washington along State Route 520 (SR 520) near Seattle, to better accommodate varying winds and storms. The new design will be elevated, which will better protect drivers and the road from waves and storms, and the pontoons that allow the bridge to float will be designed to withstand higher winds. In its climate impacts vulnerability assessment, WSDOT has recognized that high winds could increase as a result of climate change and more extreme weather events.

Related Organizations: Washington State Department of Transportation

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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FHWA Resilience Pilots

FHWA supported the work of state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to develop and pilot approaches for assessing the vulnerability of transportation systems to climate change and develop strategies for building resilience in the transportation sector. Nineteen pilot projects were selected and the pilot jurisdictions worked with FHWA's Climate Change and Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment Framework. This FHWA website includes the individual pilot studies for the pilot projects funded in 2013-2015 and webinars of the pilot teams discussing their work and their findings.

Related Organizations: New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) , Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), Washington State Department of Transportation, Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization, Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO), Iowa Department of Transportation, Maryland State Highway Administration, North Central Texas Council of Governments, Tennessee Department of Transportation

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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FHWA's Risk-Based Asset Management Planning Rule

October 24, 2016

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued this final rule to implement new planning requirements established by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST). MAP-21 and FAST require state departments of transportation (DOTs) to transition to performance-based decision-making, a large part of which is the development of a risk-based asset management plan. The new requirements are intended to ensure that federal transportation funding is spent more wisely, with specific performance targets in mind and in consideration of the likely costs to construct, operate, and maintain transportation assets over their full lifetime.

Related Organizations: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Washington State DOT (WSDOT) Guidance for Project-Level Climate Change Evaluation

January 2017 Update

The Washington State DOT (WSDOT) issued this guidance to assist the agency’s project planners in considering climate change impacts, which is required for all WSDOT projects subject to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Washington’s State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). In addition to obligations under NEPA and SEPA, WSDOT’s 2011-2017 Strategic Plan directs the agency to evaluate future climate-related risks and identify strategies to reduce risk. The guidance provides a standard process for analysis and template language to enable planning-level consideration of Washington’s projected climate impacts.

Related Organizations: Washington State Department of Transportation

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Piedras Blancas Highway 1 Realignment - Caltrans/San Luis Obispo

2017

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) realigned a 2. 8 mile section of iconic Highway 1 to address current and anticipated impacts from coastal erosion and storm surge.   This section of Highway 1, which is north of the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse in San Luis Obispo County, was already experiencing increased storm damage from flooding and erosion, with these impacts projected to increase with rising sea levels and higher storm surge caused by climate change.   Realigning the highway away from the coast reduces its vulnerability to current damage as well as to future climate impacts and is anticipated to protect the highway from bluff retreat beyond the year 2100.

Related Organizations: California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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