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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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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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French Broad River MPO Long Range Transportation Plan – Climate Change Chapter

September 23, 2010

The French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), which includes Asheville, North Carolina and the surrounding area, included a climate change chapter in its 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), adopted in 2010. The chapter identifies the impacts that climate change has already caused in the mountains of Western North Carolina, and concludes that the primary future impact in the region will be climate variability. The chapter considers the risks expected to increase with greater temperature and precipitation variability, and identifies steps the MPO can take to adapt its infrastructure.

Related Organizations: French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Fuel NY Initiative

June 1, 2013

In 2013, New York passed a law and launched the Fuel NY Initiative, to increase the number of gas stations along critical routes that will be able to operate during power outages caused by extreme weather events or other disasters. In conjunction with this law, Governor Cuomo announced the Fuel NY Initiative, which provides funding to help gas stations meet the new backup power requirements. The law and Initiative were developed in response to Hurricane Sandy, which illustrated the many challenges caused when most gas stations lost power as a result of the storm and were not able to operate fuel pumps to dispense fuel needed for emergency response and recovery efforts.

Related Organizations: State of New York

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Green Infrastructure for Los Angeles: Addressing Urban Runoff and Water Supply through Low Impact Development

April 17, 2009

This report was designed to help the City of Los Angeles use low impact development (LID) techniques to address water quality, flood control, and climate change issues. LID is a strategy for managing stormwater runoff that uses natural drainage features to capture and filter urban runoff. From an environmental standpoint, LID reduces water pollution, replenishes aquifers, and encourages water reuse. From an adaptation standpoint, LID reduces stress on water supply and can provide shade trees, helping to reduce urban heat islands.

Related Organizations: City of Los Angeles, California

Author or Affiliated User: Haan-Fawn Chau

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Greenworks Philadelphia Plan - Transportation Recommendations

2009

Greenworks Philadelphia is a comprehensive six-year plan (“Plan”) that sets goals for “greening” the City of Philadelphia – increasing the city’s energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving the environmental quality of the city, and adapting to the dangers posed by climate change. This case study focuses only on the transportation-related recommendations included in the Plan – increasing the percentage of city assets in a “state of good repair” and using green infrastructure strategies to improve stormwater management and reduce flood impacts to transportation infrastructure.

Related Organizations: City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Philadelphia Water Department, Columbia University

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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Houston-Galveston Area Council Foresight Panel on Environmental Effects Report – Transportation Recommendations

December 16, 2008

The Houston-Galveston Area Council Foresight Panel on Environmental Effects (the Panel) published a 2008 report informing local governments in the region of possible effects of climate change on their transportation infrastructure and recommending how to best reduce the risk of those impacts. The Panel synthesized climate change effects in the region including sea-level rise, increases in temperature, and more frequent and intense storm events interspersed with periods of drought. The report looks at impacts across both the built and natural environments, but this case study focuses solely on the recommendations that apply to transportation infrastructure.

Related Organizations: Houston-Galveston Area Council

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Identifying Surface Transportation Vulnerabilities and Risk Assessment Opportunities Under Climate Change: Case Study in Portland, Oregon

2011

Researchers at Portland State University (PSU) and the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium developed a framework for assessing climate change vulnerabilities to multi-modal transportation systems using a geographic information system (GIS). They used Portland as a case study for testing the GIS model and provided recommendations for how the GIS could be used to develop adaptive responses in the transportation sector. In the study, the researchers focused on two climate impacts that could affect surface transportation networks in Portland – flooding and landslides - and used GIS to model hazard locations in Portland.

Related Organizations: Portland State University, Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC)

Authors or Affiliated Users: Lindsay Walker, Miguel A. Figliozzi, Ashley R. Haire, John MacArthur

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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Impacts of Climate Change on Transportation: Freight Flow in Gulf Coast

2008

From the Transportation Research Board (TRB) report Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U. S. Transportation, this case study describes the transportation sector’s response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It focuses on the storms’ impact to national-level freight movement, highlighting efforts to reroute traffic in order to avoid long-lasting disruptions. Despite damage to Gulf Coast transportation systems from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the region experienced only modest disruptions to freight flow because transportation system redundancies allowed traffic to be rerouted away from impacted areas.

Related Organizations: Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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International Bridge, Tunnel, and Turnpike Association Forum on Super Storm Sandy: Adaptation and Resilience

January 2013

The International Bridge, Tunnel, and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) hosted a workshop in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy where agency officials shared strategies for operations and emergency management during extreme weather events. At the “Forum on Super Storm Sandy: Adaptation and Resilience” (Forum), agency officials who had been on the front lines of the response and recovery effort discussed lessons-learned with one another and with Florida state officials. The Forum was designed to engage transportation and tolling officials in “building adaptive solutions to climate change.

Resource Category: Education and Outreach

 

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