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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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Adapting to Climate Change in Coastal Parks: Estimating the Exposure of Park Assets to 1 meter of Sea-Level Rise - Transportation Assets

May 2015

The National Park Service (NPS) produced this report assessing assets in coastal parks that may be threatened by a future one-meter rise in sea level. Over 10,000 assets were evaluated, including roads and trails, and 39 percent of assets (or $40 billion worth) in 40 coastal parks were designated as “high exposure. ” The report was intended to provide an overview of NPS' exposure to sea-level rise, but was not designed to inform decision-making about specific assets at the park-level. The analysis provides a methodology for assessing exposure of systems at a national or regional scale.

Related Organizations: National Park Service (NPS)

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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International Climate Change Adaptation Framework for Road Infrastructure

2015

The International Climate Change Adaptation Framework for Road infrastructure (Framework) was developed by the World Road Association to help the road authorities in member countries develop consistent approaches for assessing climate change effects on road networks and identify appropriate measures to reduce climate risks to transportation infrastructure.   The Framework guides authorities through a series of steps to help them assess the risks to transportation infrastructure, prioritize assets for adaptive response, develop strategies to respond to climate risks, and integrate assessment findings into transportation decisionmaking processes.

Related Organizations: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Toward Sustainable Pavement Systems: A Reference Document

January 2015

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) guide, “Toward Sustainable Pavement Systems: A Reference Document,” synthesizes current knowledge on pavement system sustainability, including the effects that pavement has on climate-related considerations such as stormwater runoff and the urban heat island effect. The guide includes information and extensive synopses of current research on how pavement materials, design, construction, maintenance, and other use considerations can affect and enhance sustainability.

Related Organizations: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Capitol Corridor (CA) Sea-Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment and 2014 Vision Plan Update

November 19, 2014

The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) conducted a sea-level rise vulnerability assessment for the corridor’s rail assets and is incorporating those findings into the agency’s Vision Plan, identifying sea-level rise as a critical issue in long-term planning and investments. The Capitol Corridor, which is managed but not owned by the CCJPA, serves as the primary public transportation connection between the Sacramento metropolitan area and the San Francisco Bay Area. Large stretches of the corridor run along waterfronts and through marshlands and other areas that will be increasingly vulnerable to inundation and flooding during storm events as sea levels rise.

Related Organizations: Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Washington, DC Flood Levee System Improvements

December 2014

To prevent water from the Potomac and Anacostia rivers from flooding downtown Washington, D. C. , the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is improving the levee system along the north side of the National Mall, running from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument.   A levee system was originally erected to protect the District in 1939, following a major flood event in 1936.   This project will improve the levee system through a series of upgrades: a permanent closure at 23rd Street and Fort McNair, and the installation of a more robust removable wall, which will provide flood protection but also allow for traffic flow on 17th street between flood events.

Related Organizations: National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), District of Columbia Department of Transportation, National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Cape Cod Commission’s Adaptation Planning Activities for the Regional Transportation System

July 2015

The Cape Cod Commission (“Commission”) has begun to systematically consider the long-range impacts of climate change as it works to guide regional transportation- and development-planning efforts for an iconic but vulnerable area of coastal Massachusetts. The Commission is responsible for directing regional land-use policy, regulating developments whose impacts cross town boundaries, and supporting the 15 Cape Cod municipalities that make up Barnstable County with planning and technical expertise.

Related Organizations: Cape Cod Commission

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Plumb Beach Renourishment Project and Protection of Belt Parkway, Brooklyn, New York

2013

The Plumb Beach Renourishment Project involved the placement of sand on the beach to protect the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn, NY. The project, which is managed by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), is ongoing and is being implemented in two phases. In Phase I, the Corps nourished the beach with dredged sand and installed several geotube groins (sand bags) to prevent short-term erosion of the newly-deposited sand. Phase I was completed days before hurricane Sandy devastated the Northeast region.

Related Organizations: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, New York Department of State, New York City Department of Transportation, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, City of New York, New York, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), National Park Service (NPS)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Federal Triangle Stormwater Drainage Study

October 2011

The Federal Triangle Stormwater Drainage study analyzed the causes of a 2006 flood event that put the Federal Triangle Area of Washington D. C. under up to 3 feet of water, including several major traffic arteries, tunnels, and subway stations. The Study analyzes possible alternatives to reducing the risk of interior drainage flooding, including permeable pavements and other Low Impact Development (LID) techniques. In considering the causes of flooding in the area, the Study uses the 200-year flood as a proxy for assessing how climate change may increase flood risks and the frequency of severe storm events.

Related Organizations: National Park Service (NPS)

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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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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Delaware County, Pennsylvania Roadmap for Adapting to Coastal Risk – Transportation Sector

2010

This Roadmap for Adapting to Coastal Risk evaluates climate-related hazards, vulnerabilities, and planning priorities for Delaware County, Pennsylvania. The Roadmap was developed through a workshop for local decision-makers in Delaware County. Infrastructure was one of the topics addressed by workshop participants, which includes the transportation sector.

Related Organizations: NOAA Office for Coastal Management

Resource Category: Planning

 

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