• Transportation Resources

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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Piedras Blancas Highway 1 Realignment - Caltrans/San Luis Obispo

2017

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) realigned a 2. 8 mile section of iconic Highway 1 to address current and anticipated impacts from coastal erosion and storm surge.   This section of Highway 1, which is north of the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse in San Luis Obispo County, was already experiencing increased storm damage from flooding and erosion, with these impacts projected to increase with rising sea levels and higher storm surge caused by climate change.   Realigning the highway away from the coast reduces its vulnerability to current damage as well as to future climate impacts and is anticipated to protect the highway from bluff retreat beyond the year 2100.

Related Organizations: California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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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 roads 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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Confusion Hill Bypass in Mendocino County, California

2009

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) completed the Confusion Hill Bypass project to reduce the vulnerability of Highway 101 in Northern California to landslides. Between 1996 and 2003, Caltrans spent a total of $14 million repairing and maintaining a 2-mile stretch of the highway. In the winter of 2002/2003, Highway 101 was closed 10 times due to landslides. Caltrans identified landslides and flooding as constant challenges in Caltrans District 1, which includes Confusion Hill in Mendocino County.

Related Organizations: California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Porous Asphalt Study: “Effect of Road Shoulder Treatments on Highway Runoff Quality and Quantity”

July 1997

The Washington State Transportation Center (TRAC) studied the effectiveness of porous asphalt road shoulder treatments at reducing the quantity and improving the quality of highway stormwater runoff, compared to traditional asphalt and gravel. Out of the three treatments tested, the porous asphalt shoulders produced both the lowest volume of runoff and runoff with the lowest concentration of pollutants. The report suggests that although porous asphalt may have higher installation costs than traditional asphalt, the use of porous asphalt road shoulders may have long-term economic benefits along with safety and environmental advantages.

Related Organizations: Washington State Department of Transportation

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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California Extreme Heat Adaptation Final Guidance Document – Transportation Recommendations

October 2013

California’s Climate Action Team (CAT) developed the guidance document, Preparing California for Extreme Heat: Guidance and Recommendations, to provide California agencies with best practices for adapting to heat-related climate change impacts. Several of the recommendations focus on adaptations to the transportation sector and make recommendations for actions that can be taken by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to increase heat resilience. Transportation improvements, such as road pavement and the removal of vegetation, can contribute to higher temperatures in urban areas resulting in what are often referred to as urban heat islands.

Related Organizations: California Department of Public Health, California Climate Action Team (CAT)

Author or Affiliated User: Michael McCormick

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Charles River Watershed Association Green Infrastructure Demonstration Projects

The Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA), through its “Blue Cities Initiative,” develops demonstration projects that feature green infrastructure along streets and in other public and private spaces, with the goal of managing increases in precipitation caused by climate change. More frequent and intense rainfall events will increase the risks of flooding, sewer overflows, and water pollution in the Northeast. CRWA has implemented demonstration projects in the Boston metropolitan area to illustrate and assess the effectiveness of different green stormwater management techniques, including permeable pavements and roadside vegetation, and to encourage replication of these strategies in other areas.

Related Organizations: Charles River Watershed Association, City of Boston, Massachusetts, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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