• 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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Elevated Ventilation Grates for New York City’s Subway System

2009

New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) installed raised ventilation grates at 25 different locations throughout the city in order to reduce flooding of their subway system. Similar strategies could be used for underground highway assets, such as tunnels, where ventilation systems are at risk of flooding.

Related Organizations: New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), City of New York, New York

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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Spencer Creek Bridge Replacement and Highway 101 Realignment

May 9, 2006

While replacing the Spencer Creek Bridge, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) also realigned vulnerable sections of Highway 101 approaching the bridge, shifting the highway 50 feet inland in order to avoid expected sea cliff erosion impacts over the intended design life of the bridge and highway.

Related Organizations: Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Estimating Future Costs for Alaska Public Infrastructure at Risk from Climate Change

June 2007

The Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Alaska Anchorage created a model to estimate how much climate change could add to the costs of maintaining public infrastructure in Alaska in the near future (by 2030). This report describes how that model was developed, and presents preliminary estimates of additional public infrastructure costs resulting from climate change. The report concludes that a changing climate could make it 10 to 20 percent more expensive to build and maintain infrastructure, and that climate change induced damages could add $3.

Related Organizations: University of Alaska Anchorage, Institute of Social and Economic Research (University of Alaska-Anchorage)

Authors or Affiliated Users: Peter Larsen, Scott Goldsmith, Orson Smith, Meghan Wilson, Ken Strzepek, Paul Chinowsky, Ben Saylor

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Porous Asphalt Study: “Effect of Road Shoulder Treatments on Highway Runoff Quality and Quantity”

July 1997

The Washington State Transportation Center (TRAC) studied the effectiveness of porous asphalt road shoulder treatments at reducing the quantity and improving the quality of highway stormwater runoff, compared to traditional asphalt and gravel. Out of the three treatments tested, the porous asphalt shoulders produced both the lowest volume of runoff and runoff with the lowest concentration of pollutants. The report suggests that although porous asphalt may have higher installation costs than traditional asphalt, the use of porous asphalt road shoulders may have long-term economic benefits along with safety and environmental advantages.

Related Organizations: Washington State Department of Transportation

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Report: “Climate Change Will Impact the Seattle Department of Transportation”

August 9, 2005

Seattle’s Office of City Auditor conducted a review of the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to identify potential operations, services or structures that could be significantly impacted by anticipated changes in the climate of the Pacific Northwest region. The resulting report “Climate Change Will Impact the Seattle Department of Transportation” is designed to assess the potential impacts on Seattle’s transportation operations and infrastructure, raise awareness, and assist policymakers in developing adaptive strategies.

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

Authors or Affiliated Users: Wendy K. Soo Hoo, Megumi Sumitani, Susah Cohen

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Pringle Creek (Salem, Oregon) Green Streets Initiative

2006

In 2006, the community of Pringle Creek, Oregon installed porous pavements on 100 percent of its streets, called its “Green Streets” iniative. The project combined a variety of green infrastructure techniques such as rain gardens and bioswales, with porous pavements to mitigate flooding of Pringle Creek streets during heavy precipitation events. The green infrastructure techniques used by the community are designed to return 90 percent of rainwater to the local aquifer, as opposed to flowing as runoff to community storm sewers.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Oregon Guidance on Biofilters for Storm Water Discharge Pollution Removal

January 2003

In 2003, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) published guidance on the use of “biofilters” to remove pollution from stormwater. Biofilters include a variety of green infrastructure techniques installed along roadways to filter pollution from stormwater runoff such as constructed wetlands and bioswales (vegetated swales or ditches), among others. The guidance details the design best management practices (BMPs) that have been proven to work well in constructing biofilters, and argues that biofilters may be the “most economical” way to remove sediment and other pollutants from runoff.

Related Organizations: Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

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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FHWA Resilience Pilots

FHWA supported the work of state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to develop and pilot approaches for assessing the vulnerability of transportation systems to climate change and develop strategies for building resilience in the transportation sector. Nineteen pilot projects were selected and the pilot jurisdictions worked with FHWA's Climate Change and Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment Framework. This FHWA website includes the individual pilot studies for the pilot projects funded in 2013-2015 and webinars of the pilot teams discussing their work and their findings.

Related Organizations: New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) , Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), Washington State Department of Transportation, Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization, Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO), Iowa Department of Transportation, Maryland State Highway Administration, North Central Texas Council of Governments, Tennessee Department of Transportation

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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