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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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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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Michigan Cost-Benefit Model Evaluation of M222 Slope Stabilization

2011

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) tested a National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) cost-benefit model to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of a roadside slope stabilization project in light of future temperature and precipitation projections. The road, which is located on a portion of route M-222 along the Kalamazoo River in the City of Allegan, has a slope that has already experienced erosion caused by intense precipitation and flooding.  MDOT was in the process of stabilizing the slope using structural measures, rather than vegetative or other “soft” approaches.

Related Organizations: Michigan Department of Transportation

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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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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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, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), National Park Service (NPS)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Kenai Fjords National Park – Protection of Exit Glacier Road

September 2012

The National Park Service (NPS) has taken interim and long-term measures to repair and reinforce a one-mile section of the access road to Exit Glacier, the most accessible and popular area of Kenai Fjords National Park, to address flooding damage exacerbated by climate impacts. While flooding is a recurring event in the glacial area, less predictable flow patterns and increased flood frequency due to climate change have destabilized drainage on the road. NPS worked with highway engineers to design an interim solution, using concrete barriers to keep flood waters off the road, while continuing to study long-term stabilization solutions.

Related Organizations: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), National Park Service (NPS)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Florida “Sacrificial” Roads Projects

2007

Recognizing the increasing maintenance and replacement costs for coastal roads in Florida due to more frequent flooding and storm surge, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) – Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division (EFL), assisted the National Park Service and other partners designing specific that are prone to be frequently washed out to have minimal environmental impact. Rising sea levels and coastal storms, which are projected to increase in intensity as a result of climate change, are creating more challenges for building and maintaining transportation infrastructure along coastal shorelines.

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

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) West Coast Adaptation Peer Exchange

June 13, 2011

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) West Coast Climate Change Adaptation Peer Exchange gave transportation officials from western states an opportunity to learn more about climate impacts on transportation assets and plan for improved resilience. The participants in the exchange, California DOT (Caltrans), Oregon DOT (ODOT), and Washington State DOT (WSDOT), collaborated on strategies for assessing risks related to climate change, incorporating adaptation into asset management and operations, and communicating about the need for adaptation.

Related Organizations: Washington State Department of Transportation, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), ICF International

Resource Category: Education and Outreach

 

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Seattle, Washington Department of Transportation (Seattle DOT) Elliott Bay Seawall Project

November 2013

The City of Seattle (City), through its Department of Transportation (SDOT), began a project to replace an aging seawall in Elliott Bay that protects and supports critical transportation infrastructure from coastal storms and shoreline erosion.   The original seawall was built between 1916 and 1934 atop timber piles and is at risk of failure in the event of an earthquake due to years of deterioration of the timber caused by waves and tidal forces. The updated seawall will have a minimum 75-year lifespan, provide protection for critical infrastructure (taking sea-level rise into consideration), meet current seismic standards, and improve natural habitat and salmon migration pathways.

Related Organizations: City of Seattle, Washington, Seattle Department of Transportation, University of Washington

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) Climate Change Action Plan

June 2008

This Climate Change Action Plan was developed by the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector in the state, and to adapt the state’s transportation infrastructure to the effects of climate change. 

Related Organizations: Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans)

Resource Category: Planning

 

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City of Toronto (Ontario, Canada) Climate Change Risk Assessment Tool

2010

The City of Toronto developed its Climate Change Risk Assessment Tool, a software program and review process, to enable Toronto’s service and infrastructure providers to identify climate change risks and assess potential actions to reduce the impacts of climate change on infrastructure. Toronto’s Transportation Services Division (TSD) tested the tool in a 2011 pilot study, examining the impacts on 90 assets and services from seven extreme weather event types over two time horizons. The TSD pilot found that the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events is expected to quadruple the number of extreme risk scenarios by 2050.

Related Organizations: City of Toronto; Ontario, Canada

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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