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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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Adapting to Climate Change in Coastal Parks: Estimating the Exposure of Park Assets to 1 meter of Sea-Level Rise - Transportation Assets

May 2015

The National Park Service (NPS) produced this report assessing assets in coastal parks that may be threatened by a future one-meter rise in sea level. Over 10,000 assets were evaluated, including roads and trails, and 39 percent of assets (or $40 billion worth) in 40 coastal parks were designated as “high exposure. ” The report was intended to provide an overview of NPS' exposure to sea-level rise, but was not designed to inform decision-making about specific assets at the park-level. The analysis provides a methodology for assessing exposure of systems at a national or regional scale.

Related Organizations: National Park Service (NPS)

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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California State Route 37 Stewardship Study

February 2016

The University of California Davis Road Ecology Center undertook a stewardship study to assess the risk to California State Route 37 (SR 37) from sea-level rise.  SR 37 passes near San Francisco Bay, connecting Interstate 80 and Highway 101.  The road corridor and surrounding wetlands are threatened by sea-level rise and flooding. The road bed sits below sea level at its lowest elevation and is likely to experience erosion, flooding during storms, and inundation due to sea-level rise. The State Road 37 Stewardship Study (Study) included a stakeholder process and technical analyses to determine possible future solutions to reduce the vulnerability of the highway to climate impacts.

Related Organizations: University of California, Davis, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Sonoma Ecology Center

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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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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Recurrent Flooding Study for Tidewater Virginia – Transportation Impacts

January 14, 2013

This study makes projections for recurrent flooding in coastal Virginia, outlines the predicted impacts on transportation infrastructure, and offers planning and implementation activities to reduce risks to coastal infrastructure. The report provides an overview of available adaptation strategies for recurrent flooding, reviews their implementation around the world, and identifies specific strategies appropriate for Virginia.

Related Organizations: Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)

Authors or Affiliated Users: Molly Mitchell, Carl Hershner, Julie Herman, Dan Schatt, Pam Mason, Emily Eggington

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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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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Responding to Climate Change in New York State: ClimAID – Transportation Chapter

November 2011

This state-level assessment provides information on New York's vulnerability to climate change and is specifically designed to assist in the development of adaptation strategies. The goal of the Integrated Assessment for Effective Climate Change Adaptation Strategies in New York State (ClimAID) is to provide decision-makers with progressive information on climate change effects on the state, and to facilitate adaptation planning. The ClimAID report reviews climate change impacts and adaptation options for eight sectors in New York including water resources, coastal zones, ecosystems, agriculture, energy, transportation, public health and telecommunications.

Related Organizations: Cornell University, Columbia University, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Study for the City of Los Angeles – Transportation Assets

December 2013

The University of Southern California Sea Grant Program completed a Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Study for the City of Los Angeles that summarizes initial research on the potential impacts of sea-level rise on Los Angeles’s coastal and shoreline assets, including the Port of Los Angeles, the Pacific Coast Highway and other significant coastal roads. The study identifies the Los Angeles (LA) communities and infrastructure most threatened, and offers a suite of adaptation measures including several specific recommendations for safeguarding transportation assets.

Related Organizations: University of Southern California Sea Grant

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Alaska Highway Study: Groundwater Flow, Permafrost Degradation, and Transportation Infrastructure Stability

2013

The Alaska University Transportation Center (AUTC) of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, supported a research project to study the effects of groundwater flow on permafrost degradation and resulting road instability. The stability of permafrost below roadways and embankments is increasingly affected by warming surface temperatures caused by climate change, but may also be affected by heat transfer from groundwater flow. Studies have shown that groundwater flow can accelerate permafrost degradation by several orders of magnitude compared to thaw caused by heat transfer from the atmosphere alone.

Related Organizations: University of Alaska Fairbanks

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Climate Risk Assessment for United Kingdom's "High Speed Two" Rail Network

November 2013

The UK Government's proposed design for a new high speed railway between London and points north considered climate change-related risks, including flooding of tracks and overheating in tunnels. The risk assessment report discusses how those risks will be addressed in the proposed design for the project. The proposed project, High Speed Two (HS2), is designed to link eight of Britain’s ten largest cities and increase the capacity of the country’s rail infrastructure. The project is expected to cost 16 billion British pounds, with service to start in 2026.

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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European Road Authorities’ Climate Risk Assessment Tools: RIMAROCC and ROADAPT Projects

May 2015

European nations have collaborated on two research projects since 2009 to develop a detailed climate change risk assessment methodology and tools for adapting transportation systems and infrastructure. The first project, entitled “RIMAROCC” (Risk Management for Roads in a Changing Climate), produced a risk assessment framework to support decision-making regarding roads in light of climate change impacts. The more recent “ROADAPT” (Roads for Today, Adapted for Tomorrow) project developed guidelines and tools to be used with the RIMAROCC risk assessment framework, to better inform detailed vulnerability and socioeconomic impact assessments, and selection of adaptation strategies.

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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