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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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The Infrastructure and Climate Network (ICNet)

The Infrastructure and Climate Network (ICNet) brings together climate scientists, engineering researchers, private practitioners, and transportation officials to support adaptation in the transportation sector in the Northeast US.   The focus of ICNet is to deliver data, tools, partnerships, and education to help transportation agencies understand potential climate impacts to the transportation system and identify engineering solutions to prepare roads, bridges, and other infrastructure for the effects of climate change.

Related Organizations: University of New Hampshire

Resource Category: Organizations

 

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Oregon Dept. of Transportation Climate Change Adaptation Strategy Report

April 2012

The Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Climate Change Adaptation Strategy Report is intended to provide a preliminary assessment of likely climate change impacts on ODOT assets and operations and adaptation strategies. ODOT is responsible for more than 19,000 lane miles of state highway, 2,700 bridges, thousands of culverts, and other critical infrastructure. All of this infrastructure is potentially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as increased incidence of landslides, flooding, coastal erosion, and wildfires.

Related Organizations: Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT)

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Hampton Roads Climate Change Adaptation Project

July 2012

Hampton Roads, Virginia engaged in a three-phase Climate Change Adaptation Project to identify impacts, assess the region’s vulnerabilities, and identify potential strategies for adapting to anticipated impacts. Part of the assessment focused on impacts to transportation infrastructure, although transportation impacts were only one issue of many analyzed in the three reports.

Related Organizations: Hampton Roads Planning District Commission

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Caltrans Devil’s Slide Realignment Project

2013

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) invested in an expensive relocation of the Devil’s Slide segment of Highway 1, a coastal highway linking Half Moon Bay and San Francisco in San Mateo County. The segment was repeatedly closed due to damage from rockslides and erosion. The state decided to relocate the road at additional up-front expense (approximately $342 million) to avoid the long-term maintenance costs of rebuilding the road repeatedly in its existing location. Although not specifically implemented in response to climate change, this project provides an example of how realignment may present a cost effective strategy for adapting transportation assets in the face of mounting maintenance costs from repeated damage due to climate-related events.

Related Organizations: California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan – Projects to Protect Transportation Infrastructure

March 2012

In 2012, Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) developed a Coastal Master Plan to provide a system-wide plan for reducing hurricane flood risk and restoring land along the Louisiana coast. The Plan defines a set of coastal protection and restoration projects to be implemented by the state over the next 50 years.   Six of these projects create wetlands in order to protect sections of Louisiana’s highways. The criteria used for selecting projects consider future climate impacts.

Related Organizations: Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) and Google Real-Time Road Closure Maps

September 2011

The Google Crisis Response Team and the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) partnered to develop a real-time road closure map for Vermont in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. This tool provided information on the location and severity of damaged infrastructure so that state government agencies and the public could safely and efficiently navigate Vermont’s roads, and manage the damage in the aftermath of the storm.

Related Organizations: Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans), Google.org

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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The City of Lewes, Delaware Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Action Plan - Transportation Components

June 2011

In 2011, the City of Lewes, Delaware undertook a pilot project to develop a unified Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Action Plan, which considers the City’s vulnerability to climate change, particularly sea-level rise, and includes an evaluation of the vulnerability of roads and critical evacuation routes.   

Related Organizations: Delaware Sea Grant, University of Delaware, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability

Resource Category: Planning

 

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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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Caltrans Guidance on Incorporating Sea Level Rise - for use in the planning and development of Project Initiation Documents

May 16, 2011

This guidance document was developed by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) pursuant to Executive Order S-13-08, issued by then Governor Schwarzenegger in November 2008. It provides guidance to Caltrans staff Project Development Teams on how to assess the vulnerability of transportation projects to sea-level rise (SLR) impacts and incorporate adaptation into the programming and design of vulnerable projects. 

Related Organizations: California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Mainstreaming Climate Change Adaptation Strategies into New York State Department of Transportation’s Operations: Final Report

October 31, 2011

This report was prepared for the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) to help them identify the vulnerabilities of the state’s transportation system as well as opportunities to adapt the system and mainstream adaptation into the transportation decision making process. The report is divided into five chapters: an introduction, a discussion of climate change and its intersection with transportation in New York State, a vulnerability and impact assessment, a discussion of adaptation strategies and best practices, recommendation for mainstreaming those strategies into NYSDOT operation, and a communications and technology transfer plan.

Related Organizations: New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) , Columbia University, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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