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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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French Broad River MPO Long Range Transportation Plan – Climate Change Chapter

September 23, 2010

The French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), which includes Asheville, North Carolina and the surrounding area, included a climate change chapter in its 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), adopted in 2010. The chapter identifies the impacts that climate change has already caused in the mountains of Western North Carolina, and concludes that the primary future impact in the region will be climate variability. The chapter considers the risks expected to increase with greater temperature and precipitation variability, and identifies steps the MPO can take to adapt its infrastructure.

Related Organizations: French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Charlotte County-Punta Gorda 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan

December 2010

The Charlotte County – Punta Gorda Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) Long Range Transportation Plan contains a section on hazard mitigation designed to help the MPO identify specific roadways and properties within the region that are at risk of sea-level rise and storm surges, and identify strategies that can help protect the region from these climate-change-induced hazards. Chapter 13 profiles natural and man-made hazards that are common in the MPO area; presents estimates of the level of exposure and vulnerability of various components of the transportation system; describes a scenario-based planning exercise to integrate hazard mitigation into collaborative land-use and transportation planning; identifies various mitigation strategies to reduce the vulnerability of the transportation system; and suggests and incorporates a new set of goals and objectives into the LRTP.

Related Organizations: Charlotte County - Punta Gorda, Florida Metropolitan Planning Organization

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Environmental Impact Report in San Francisco Bay Area Transportation 2035 Plan: Change in Motion

April 2009

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) completed an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) In order to assess the impacts of proposed transportation investments in the San Francisco Bay Area. The EIR includes a qualitative assessment of potential climate change impacts on the region’s transportation system, with a focus on sea-level rise impacts. It also suggests measures to protect transportation assets from the impacts of climate change. The EIR, finalized in 2009, was part of the development of the MTC’s long-range transportation plan, “Transportation 2035 Plan: Change in Motion.

Related Organizations: California Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Houston-Galveston Area Council Foresight Panel on Environmental Effects Report – Transportation Recommendations

December 16, 2008

The Houston-Galveston Area Council Foresight Panel on Environmental Effects (the Panel) published a 2008 report informing local governments in the region of possible effects of climate change on their transportation infrastructure and recommending how to best reduce the risk of those impacts. The Panel synthesized climate change effects in the region including sea-level rise, increases in temperature, and more frequent and intense storm events interspersed with periods of drought. The report looks at impacts across both the built and natural environments, but this case study focuses solely on the recommendations that apply to transportation infrastructure.

Related Organizations: Houston-Galveston Area Council

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Impacts of Climate Change on Transportation: Freight Flow in Gulf Coast

2008

From the Transportation Research Board (TRB) report Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U. S. Transportation, this case study describes the transportation sector’s response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It focuses on the storms’ impact to national-level freight movement, highlighting efforts to reroute traffic in order to avoid long-lasting disruptions. Despite damage to Gulf Coast transportation systems from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the region experienced only modest disruptions to freight flow because transportation system redundancies allowed traffic to be rerouted away from impacted areas.

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

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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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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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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Climate Change Impact Assessment for Surface Transportation in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska

January 2012

The Climate Change Impact Assessment (Assessment) provides a preliminary analysis of the vulnerabilities posed by climate change to the surface transportation infrastructure system in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska region. The Assessment demonstrates a method that planners, engineers, and other agency decision makers can follow when assessing the impacts of climate change on surface transportation in their jurisdiction. The Assessment was conducted for the Region X Northwest Transportation Consortium for transportation policymakers and professionals in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

Related Organizations: Region X Northwest Transportation Consortium , Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, Washington State Department of Transportation, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC), Idaho Transportation Department, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

Authors or Affiliated Users: John MacArthur, Philip W. Mote, Jason Ideker, Miguel Figliozzi, Ming Lee

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Sea-Level Rise: A Transportation Vulnerability Assessment of the Wilmington, Delaware Region

July 2011

This assessment was prepared by the staff of the Wilmington Area Planning Council (WILMAPCO), the Metropolitan Planning Organization for New Castle County, Delaware and Cecil County, Maryland, to identify the vulnerabilities of the area’s transportation infrastructure to climate change. The body of the report is broken into five chapters:  background, methodology, regional impacts, cluster (neighborhood level) profiles, and policy recommendations.  

Related Organizations: Wilmington Area Planning Council

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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