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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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A Stronger, More Resilient New York - Transportation Chapter

June 11, 2013

“A Stronger, More Resilient New York” is an adaptation plan (Plan) for New York City (NYC), which contains actionable recommendations both for rebuilding the communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy and increasing the resilience of infrastructure and buildings citywide. Chapter 10 of the plan is dedicated to transportation impacts, strategies, initiatives, and policy recommendations. This chapter details the impacts that occurred to the transportation system as a result of Hurricane Sandy, impacts that can be anticipated in the future as a result of climate change, and strategies for increasing the resilience of NYC’s transportation system.

Related Organizations: New York City (NYC) Special Initiative of Rebuilding and Resiliency, New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC), City of New York, New York

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Rebuild by Design: New Meadowlands -- Transportation Elements

June 2014

The New Meadowlands project was proposed as part of the post-Sandy Rebuild by Design competition and involves the integration of flood protection structures with transportation assets.   The proposal includes two components: (1) “Meadowpark,”a series of green berms integrated with a large natural reserve of tidal wetlands and freshwater basins designed to provide flood protection; and (2) the “Meadowband,” a berm covered by a street designed to integrate a Bus Rapid Transit line and provide multi-modal transportation options to the region.

Related Organizations: State of New Jersey, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Rebuild by Design: Hoboken -- Transportation Elements

June 2014

The Hoboken Rebuild by Design project proposal uses a combination of urban water management strategies to protect Hoboken, New Jersey, including the region’s transportation hubs, from flash floods and storm surge. Hoboken is a low-elevation, high-density urban environment on the west bank of the Hudson River that was severely flooded in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern coast of the U. S. The project uses a combination of flood defenses, green infrastructure (such as green roofs, constructed wetlands, rain gardens), and stormwater pumps to increase the city’s resilience to flooding.

Related Organizations: State of New Jersey, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Sand Berm to Protect Del Monte Avenue in Monterey, California

The shoreline along southern Monterey Bay has historically been subject to strong surge during storm events. These surge conditions are predicted to worsen in the future due to climate change. Each year on November 1, the City of Monterey creates a temporary sand berm to provide flood protection for Del Monte Avenue and an adjacent bike path.   Del Monte Avenue is a low-lying road that runs adjacent to the public beach.   The berm is designed to reduce the likelihood that storm surge will inundate the road.

Related Organizations: City of Monterey, California

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Assateague Island National Seashore (AINS) Parking Lot Relocation

National Park Service (NPS) managers at Assateague Island National Seashore (AINS) have developed a plan to adapt roadways and parking areas to excessive erosion and overwashing from storm surges. This plan is in progress, and this case study will be updated accordingly. Two parking lots will be relocated away from the shoreline to reduce their vulnerability to erosion from future storms and help restore natural coastal processes. Additionally, they will be reconstructed from materials that are readily available on Assateague Island, such as clay and crushed clam shell, which will help reduce water flow rates over the parking lots and corresponding risk of erosion.

Related Organizations: National Park Service (NPS)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Cape Cod Parking Lot Removal and Relocation

Several Cape Cod towns and the Cape Cod Commission have taken specific measures to adapt beach parking lots to the impacts of climate change, including extreme storms and sea-level rise that are causing increased beach erosion.    These coastal communities are rethinking “quick fix” repairs to vulnerable parking infrastructure and are instead implementing a variety of soft and hard measures as more permanent solutions to long-term climate change impacts.   Many of the town activities were captured in the adaptation blog “Great American Adaptation Road Trip” by Allie Goldstein and Kirsten Howard, graduates of the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Seattle, Washington Department of Transportation (Seattle DOT) Elliott Bay Seawall Project

November 2013

The City of Seattle (City), through its Department of Transportation (SDOT), began a project to replace an aging seawall in Elliott Bay that protects and supports critical transportation infrastructure from coastal storms and shoreline erosion.   The original seawall was built between 1916 and 1934 atop timber piles and is at risk of failure in the event of an earthquake due to years of deterioration of the timber caused by waves and tidal forces. The updated seawall will have a minimum 75-year lifespan, provide protection for critical infrastructure (taking sea-level rise into consideration), meet current seismic standards, and improve natural habitat and salmon migration pathways.

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

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Rebuilding Minnesota Highway 210 near Jay Cooke State Park

November 2013

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) implemented several different solutions to address damage to Minnesota Highway 210 near Jay Cooke State Park to improve the future resilience of the highway. Measures include custom culvert design, soil stabilization, and replacing culverts with bridges. Multiple sections of Highway 210 remain closed while MnDOT conducts damage assessments and develops long-term plans.

Related Organizations: Minnesota Department of Transportation

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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U.S. GAO Climate Change report: Future Federal Adaptation Efforts Could Better Support Local Infrastructure Decision-Makers – Transportation Findings

May 14, 2013

The U. S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report that analyzed findings on the impacts of climate change on the nation’s infrastructure, including roads and bridges, and provided recommendations for Executive action to improve the resilience of the nation’s infrastructure. To develop the report, the GAO analyzed National Research Council (NRC) and the U. S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) climate change assessments and reports, conducted interviews with professional and agency stakeholders, and went on site visits to seven locations where adaptation measures have been integrated into infrastructure project planning.

Related Organizations: U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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NYC MTA Storm Surge Protection via Catastrophe Bond Market (New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority)

July 31, 2013

After Hurricane Sandy, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) sold a catastrophe bond in July 2013 to raise funds to manage flood risk to the system and offset any costs of future storm damage if the city is hit by another hurricane in the next three years. Sandy caused an estimated $4 to $5 billion in damages to MTA assets; as a result, insurance prices for MTA doubled. To finance protections from future storm surges, MTA issued $200 million in shares of catastrophe bonds to supplement traditional insurance, costing MTA $46 million a year.

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

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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