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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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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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Iowa Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Report – Findings Related to Infrastructure

2011

The Iowa Climate Change Adaptation & Resilience Report identifies barriers to and incentives for incorporating climate change information into local hazard mitigation and comprehensive planning processes, in order to improve community resilience to climate impacts through coordinated planning, hazard assessment, and infrastructure investment decision-making. The report presents the findings of a pilot project between the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Iowa stakeholders, developed through a series of meetings and workshops.

Related Organizations: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Winslow Way Street Redesign (Bainbridge Island, WA)

2011

The City of Bainbridge Island redesigned its main downtown street to update aging water infrastructure, improve walkability and multimodal uses, and better manage stormwater using more natural and vegetated solutions. The new design is more walkable and accessible, supports biking, better manages stormwater with green infrastructure practices, and encourages social cohesion through smart design. Over half a mile in length, this innovative redesign protects street trees and incorporates stormwater planters, rain gardens, and other methods to retain stormwater and prevent flooding.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Miami-Dade County Roadmap for Adapting to Coastal Risk

March 3, 2011

With assistance from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center, the Miami-Dade County Office of Sustainability hosted a workshop for county department staff from across all sectors to learn about potential sea level rise (SLR) impacts on county assets and processes, provide input on a county-wide vulnerability assessment, and identify opportunities to adapt to SLR and other climate impacts. The workshop employed NOAA’s Roadmap for Adapting to Coastal Risk, which provides communities with a framework for conducting a participatory assessment of community vulnerability to coastal hazards as well as an approach for incorporating relevant risk information into local planning.

Related Organizations: National Association of Counties, Miami-Dade County Office of Sustainability, Miami-Dade County, Florida, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines, Appendix 2: Climate Change Projections

March 23, 2011

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) in 2011 created Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines to rate agency infrastructure projects using a point system and checklist that incorporates design evaluation based on climate change projections for temperature, precipitation, and flood elevation. The Guidelines require application of these climate change projections and evaluation of impacts in order to receive points for the “Site Assessment” phase of project design, which generally involves assessing existing conditions and using the information to identify best management practices (BMPs) for the project.

Related Organizations: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines

March 23, 2011

The Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines were developed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) to help project engineers and architects integrate sustainable engineering practices into the design and construction of all PANYNJ projects, which include new and reconstructed roadways, airfields, bridges, tunnels, and marine structures, among other infrastructure projects.  The guidelines are designed to reduce the environmental impacts of projects, and several of the guidelines involve adapting to climate change impacts.

Related Organizations: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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PANYNJ Assessment of the Vulnerability to the Impacts of Climate Change

April 2011

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) conducted a vulnerability and risk assessment of the agency’s critical infrastructure to the anticipated effects of climate change, including sea-level rise and increased storm surge, precipitation, and temperatures.   PANYNJ analyzed climate-related vulnerability and level of risk for a wide variety of agency infrastructure, including airports, marine terminals, tunnels and bridges, rails, bus stations, and other facilities.   The risk analysis was used to prioritize the highest risk assets and develop adaptation strategies for those assets.

Related Organizations: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Vulnerability Assessment for the Saco Bay, Maine Communities of Biddeford, Saco, Old Orchard Beach, and Scarborough – Vulnerable Transportation Infrastructure

April 13, 2011

This vulnerability assessment was conducted by the Saco Bay Sea Level Adaptation Working Group (SLAWG), and assessed the vulnerability of Saco Bay communities to sea-level rise (SLR), flooding and erosion. The assessment looked at vulnerabilities for the towns of Saco, Scarborough, Old Orchard Beach, and Biddeford. This Saco Bay region contains the largest contiguous stretch of beaches and coastal wetlands in the state and has experienced some of the state’s most severe erosion problems. Although the focus on the study was on the vulnerability of the communities as a whole, part of the assessment identified roads in the region that will be vulnerable to inundation under different SLR scenarios.

Related Organizations: Saco Bay Sea Level Adaptation Working Group (SLAWG), Maine State Planning Office, Maine Department of Conservation

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Caltrans Guidance on Incorporating Sea Level Rise - for use in the planning and development of Project Initiation Documents

May 16, 2011

This guidance document was developed by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) pursuant to Executive Order S-13-08, issued by then Governor Schwarzenegger in November 2008. It provides guidance to Caltrans staff Project Development Teams on how to assess the vulnerability of transportation projects to sea-level rise (SLR) impacts and incorporate adaptation into the programming and design of vulnerable projects. 

Related Organizations: California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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FHWA Midwest Adaptation Peer Exchange Report: Minimizing the Impacts of Climate Change on Transportation Systems in the Midwest

May 27, 2011

The Midwest Adaptation Peer Exchange Report summarizes the outcomes of two Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) sponsored peer-exchange events that focused on minimizing the impacts of climate change on transportation assets in the Midwest. Participants included Indiana MPOs and Midwestern state DOTs. The purpose of the peer exchanges was to identify and share tools that are available to local, regional, and state transportation managers to encourage them to prepare for and minimize climate impacts on transportation infrastructure.

Related Organizations: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

Resource Category: Education and Outreach

 

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