• 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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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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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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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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Federal Triangle Stormwater Drainage 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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Danish Road Directorate - Blue Spot Analysis

September 2014

The Danish Road Directorate (DRD) developed a Blue Spot Analysis to identify roadways vulnerable to flooding under present conditions and future climate projections and to inform its climate change adaptation response. A “Blue Spot” is a section of road where there is both a high risk of flooding and significant consequences from flooding. Road flooding is the primary climate adaptation challenge for Denmark and is the focus of the DRD’s climate adaptation planning.   The DRD’s strategy to adapt to road flooding is to manage flooding that occurs, improve roads when financially feasible, and to prevent climate-related impacts whenever possible.

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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Sea-Level Rise Tool for Hurricane Sandy Recovery

June 20, 2013

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) developed a tool that can assist communities affected by Hurricane Sandy in reducing vulnerability of transportation and other infrastructure to future sea-level rise and flood risk. The tool, which involves a set of maps showing floodplains under sea-level rise scenarios and an updated USACE Sea-Level Change calculator showing site-specific flood elevation data, helps communities understand the effects of sea-level rise on future flood risk and incorporate this information into planning and decision-making.

Related Organizations: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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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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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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City of Toronto (Ontario, Canada) Climate Change Risk Assessment Tool

2010

The City of Toronto developed its Climate Change Risk Assessment Tool, a software program and review process, to enable Toronto’s service and infrastructure providers to identify climate change risks and assess potential actions to reduce the impacts of climate change on infrastructure. Toronto’s Transportation Services Division (TSD) tested the tool in a 2011 pilot study, examining the impacts on 90 assets and services from seven extreme weather event types over two time horizons. The TSD pilot found that the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events is expected to quadruple the number of extreme risk scenarios by 2050.

Related Organizations: City of Toronto; Ontario, Canada

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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New York’s Expanded USGS StreamStats Tool

December 2015

The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) has developed a web-based application that operates in conjunction with the existing StreamStats application for New York State to incorporate projected precipitation changes under various 21st century climate change scenarios. This application will allow transportation planners and engineers to explore how climate change may affect high flows, which can assist with the design of over-water infrastructure (such as culverts and bridges) to accommodate these changes.

Related Organizations: New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) , U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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