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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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U.S. GAO Climate Change report: Future Federal Adaptation Efforts Could Better Support Local Infrastructure Decision-Makers – Transportation Findings

May 14, 2013

The U. S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report that analyzed findings on the impacts of climate change on the nation’s infrastructure, including roads and bridges, and provided recommendations for Executive action to improve the resilience of the nation’s infrastructure. To develop the report, the GAO analyzed National Research Council (NRC) and the U. S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) climate change assessments and reports, conducted interviews with professional and agency stakeholders, and went on site visits to seven locations where adaptation measures have been integrated into infrastructure project planning.

Related Organizations: U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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WSDOT Mukilteo Multimodal Ferry Terminal Environmental Impact Statement

June 2013

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) considered sea-level rise as a factor in early design and environmental review for the Mukilteo Multimodal Terminal Project (“Project”). The Project will develop a new terminal for the Mukilteo/Clinton Ferry, which provides transportation between Whidbey Island and the Seattle metropolitan area. In the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Project, WSDOT acknowledged that changing climate would impact the function and operations of Multimodal Project over the 50 to 100 year lifespan of the facility.

Related Organizations: Washington State Department of Transportation

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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New Zealand Transport Agency: SH16 Causeway Upgrade Project

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) is upgrading and elevating the State Highway 16 (SH16) Causeway near Auckland to reduce roadway flooding during extreme tidal conditions under projected future sea-level rise. The SH16 Causeway Upgrade Project involves raising 4. 8 kilometers (3 miles) of both roadway and bike path along SH16, also known as the Northwestern Motorway, by 1. 5 meters (5 feet). For this project, NZTA utilized sea-level rise planning recommendations produced by the NZ Ministry for the Environment.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Waveland, Mississippi Local Hazard Mitigation Plan Update – Critical Evacuation Routes

March 2013

The City of Waveland, Mississippi developed its Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP) in 2013 to update its 2007 plan, document the city’s hazard mitigation planning process, and identify relevant vulnerabilities and strategies to increase resiliency. The 2013 LHMP added climate change as a new hazard not previously addressed, as well as several other climate-related hazards such as coastal erosion, drought, extreme heat, and flooding. The LHMP assesses Waveland’s vulnerability to the hazards identified, as well as its hazard mitigation capabilities, and identifies evacuation planning as a high priority action item in light of the vulnerabilities identified.

Related Organizations: City of Waveland, Mississippi

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Emergency Relief Program: Sandy Disaster Aid Resilience Projects

2013

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) allocated $4. 3 billion of its disaster recovery money specifically for projects in the Sandy-impacted areas that increase the resilience of public transportation systems and facilities to future disasters and the impacts of climate change. Funding for resilience projects was allocated in separate tiers. First, for “locally-prioritized projects,” which include resilience improvements made in conjunction with other recovery and rebuilding projects or lower cost stand-alone projects that could be implemented quickly.

Related Organizations: Federal Transit Administration (FTA)

Resource Category: Funding

 

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Transportation Research Board (TRB) NCHRP: A Pre-Event Recovery Planning Guide for Transportation

2013

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) developed Report 753: A Pre-Event Recovery Planning Guide for Transportation, which provides an overview of steps involved in planning and preparing for the recovery of critical transportation infrastructure after a catastrophic event such as a severe storm or wildfire. The Guide was developed to assist transportation owners, operators and planners with pre-event recovery planning.

Related Organizations: Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies, The National Academies

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Maryland Climate Change and "Coast Smart" Construction (Executive Order 01.01.2012.29) – Application to Transportation Infrastructure and Facilities

December 28, 2012

On December 28, 2012, then-Governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, Executive Order 01.01.2012.29, Climate Change and “Coast Smart” Construction, directing all state agencies to consider the risk of coastal flooding and sea level rise in the siting and design of state structures to avoid or minimize impacts. The order applies to all state facilities and structures, including transportation facilities.

Related Organizations: Maryland Department of Natural Resources, State of Maryland

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Pennsylvania Climate Adaptation Planning Report – Infrastructure Chapter

March 2010

The Pennsylvania Climate Adaptation Planning Report presents climate adaptation recommendations and strategies developed by stakeholder working groups from key sectors, including the infrastructure sector with a focus on transportation. The Infrastructure working group identified the key focus areas, vulnerabilities and risks to infrastructure assets; and prioritized actions (high, medium or low) based upon specific criteria including cost, timeliness of implementation, political support, data availability, planning, risk level, co-benefits, and risks to public health and safety.

Related Organizations: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

Resource Category: Planning

 

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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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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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