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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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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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Cape Cod (Massachusetts) Interagency Transportation, Land Use, and Climate Change Pilot Project

March 2012

This report describes a pilot project in Cape Cod, Massachusetts initiated by the federal Interagency Working Group on Transportation, Land Use and Climate Change for the purpose of developing and testing a framework for assessing the effects of sea level rise (SLR) on land- use and transportation infrastructure, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation sources. The goal of the project was to create a replicable process for other regions to follow for using scenario planning to consider climate change in transportation and land-use plans, and for coordinating across agencies and integrating agency planning processes.

Related Organizations: John A. Volpe National Transportation System Center, Cape Cod Commission

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Development of a Methodology for the Assessment of Sea Level Rise Impacts on Florida’s Transportation Modes and Infrastructure

January 2012

This report provides a methodology for assessing the impacts of sea-level rise (SLR) on Florida transportation infrastructure. The report analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of different methods of forecasting SLR in Florida and provides recommendations for how those methods should be used by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The report also provides recommendations for identifying vulnerable transportation assets and addressing potential impacts of SLR to those assets. After this methodology was developed, FDOT funded a subsequent project to develop a GIS-based planning tool that aids in statewide and regional assessments of transportation asset vulnerability to SLR.

Related Organizations: Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Atlantic University (FAU)

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Report – Transportation Strategies

September 2011

The Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Report provides an assessment of impacts to key infrastructure assets across the state, and presents specific strategies for building the resilience and adaptive capacity of the transportation sector. The report describes the process, principles, findings, and recommendations of the Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Advisory Committee, and begins the identification and development of adaptation strategies for the state. The ‘Key Infrastructure’ chapter discusses specific vulnerabilities and impacts anticipated for the transportation sector that could result from climate change, and outlines no regret, short-term, and long-term strategies to help increase resilience, decrease vulnerabilities, and better prepare for a changing climate.

Related Organizations: Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Advisory Committee

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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Climate Change Adaptation in the Metropolitan Washington Region: Draft Transportation Sector Vulnerabilities

August 2011

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) Transportation Vulnerability Assessment was developed as part of a broader climate change adaptation initiative.  This preliminary vulnerability assessment for the transportation sector identifies the possible climate impacts to the transportation sector, including roads and bridges, rail, facilities and buildings, bicycle and pedestrian buildings, and airports.

Related Organizations: Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG, COG)

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Federal Triangle Stormwater 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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Paths to a Sustainable Region - Boston Region Long-Range Transportation Plan

September 22, 2011

The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), “Paths to a Sustainable Region,” outlines policies, programs, and projects of regional significance or major infrastructure projects that have been identified as priorities for the region between now and 2035. The Boston LRTP adds climate change as an area of emphasis, and acknowledges the importance of adaptation measures to lessen or avoid potential impacts from climate change.

Related Organizations: Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)

Resource Category: Planning

 

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