• 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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Minnesota DOT Flood Mitigation Program

The state of Minnesota created a $50 million Minnesota Department of Transportation (“MnDOT”) Flood Mitigation Program (“Program”) to increase the resilience of transportation system after severe spring floods in 2010 caused over $64 million in damages in the state. The Flood Mitigation Program will fund repairs, elevations, and realignments to road and bridges, as well as improvements to drainage structures. Although the program documents do not explicitly cite to climate change, MnDOT lists the Flood Mitigation Program as an adaptation action that the agency is taking to prepare for climate change.

Related Organizations: Minnesota Department of Transportation

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Florida Sea-level Rise Sketch Planning Tool for Transportation

October 2015

The University of Florida (UF) developed a geographic information system (GIS)-based “sketch planning tool” to help transportation planners in Florida identify transportation infrastructure potentially vulnerable to projected sea-level rise. The sketch planning tool offers a mapping function to visualize areas that will be affected by different sea-level rise scenarios based upon surface elevations and the location of infrastructure.   The tool is also customizable for experienced users to allow them to create more spatially refined inundation surfaces.

Related Organizations: University of Florida, Florida Department of Transportation

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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Arizona DOT Resilience Pilot Program

August 2015

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is pursuing a “Resilience Pilot Program” (RPP) to improve data and modeling with the aim of reducing incidents of flood, hydraulic-related failure, and extreme weather damage to critical transportation infrastructure. A key element to the new RPP is a partnership with the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS). Leveraging USGS’s resources, the RPP is currently testing new technology such as fixed-wing drone, quad-copter hovercraft and ground based LiDAR imaging to better assess the siting, design, and construction of ADOT’s assets where they interchange with rivers, stream, creeks and floodplains.

Related Organizations: Arizona Department of Transportation, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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Sacramento Region Transportation Adaptation Plan and Regional Transportation Plan

August 2015

The Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) developed a high-level vulnerability assessment and adaptation plan (“Adaptation Plan”) for the region’s transportation infrastructure, and is using the plan as a framework to guide future adaptation work and inform planning for transportation investments. The initial findings from the Adaptation Plan are being incorporated into the region’s 2016 long-range transportation plan update. The Adaptation Plan looks at risks to transportation from four primary climate-related threats to the region: extreme temperature; wildfire; precipitation, runoff, and flooding; and landslides.

Related Organizations: Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG)

Resource Category: Planning

 

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California State Route 37 Stewardship Study

February 2016

The University of California Davis Road Ecology Center undertook a stewardship study to assess the risk to California State Route 37 (SR 37) from sea-level rise.  SR 37 passes near San Francisco Bay, connecting Interstate 80 and Highway 101.  The road corridor and surrounding wetlands are threatened by sea-level rise and flooding. The road bed sits below sea level at its lowest elevation and is likely to experience erosion, flooding during storms, and inundation due to sea-level rise. The State Road 37 Stewardship Study (Study) included a stakeholder process and technical analyses to determine possible future solutions to reduce the vulnerability of the highway to climate impacts.

Related Organizations: University of California, Davis, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Sonoma Ecology Center

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Restoration and Relocation Efforts

October 2015

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, located at the southern tip of Assateague Island, depends on parking and road facilities that are vulnerable to flooding and erosion.   Refuge managers have been exploring alternatives for responding to these impacts that they anticipate will worsen with sea-level rise and climate change. The refuge is studying alternatives to relocate parking facilities and is using oyster reefs to protect transportation facilities. Parking facilities on the island are made of loose shells and sand so as not to disrupt the natural terrain.

Related Organizations: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), National Park Service (NPS)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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North Carolina Highway 12 Storm Recovery

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is implementing several different solutions to address frequent overwashes, erosion, and more severe damage to North Carolina Highway 12 (NC 12) following Hurricanes Irene and Sandy. These measures, intended to improve the future resilience of the highway, include bridge construction and temporary beach nourishment.

Related Organizations: North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT)

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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Tucson, Arizona Rebates for Curb Cuts to Harvest Rainwater

July 2015

In Tucson, curb cuts can reduce flooding on streets and capture water for irrigation in the arid region. Tucson began offering water harvesting rebates for the installation of curb cuts, openings created in the curb to allow stormwater from the street to flow into water-harvesting basins. Curb cuts are used to reduce the amount of stormwater flowing down the street, often diverting that water into basins to irrigate vegetation. The Tucson City Council voted in November 2014 to expand the city’s rainwater harvesting rebate program to provide rebates for curb cut installation.

Related Organizations: City of Tucson, Arizona, City of Tucson, Water Department, Tucson Water

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Monterey County, California Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan

June 2015

Monterey County, California and its twelve incorporated municipalities have integrated climate change into their combined Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan. Hazard Mitigation Plans guide state and local efforts to reduce disaster losses of life, property, and infrastructure, including transportation assets. Home to more than 400,000 people, Monterey County sits along the California coast, where it faces numerous climate-connected - often interrelated - threats, including sea-level rise, coastal erosion, flooding, wildfires, and landslides, which can all affect transportation.

Resource Category: Planning

 

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