• 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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Vulnerability Assessment for the Saco Bay, Maine Communities of Biddeford, Saco, Old Orchard Beach, and Scarborough – Vulnerable Transportation Infrastructure

April 13, 2011

This vulnerability assessment was conducted by the Saco Bay Sea Level Adaptation Working Group (SLAWG), and assessed the vulnerability of Saco Bay communities to sea-level rise (SLR), flooding and erosion. The assessment looked at vulnerabilities for the towns of Saco, Scarborough, Old Orchard Beach, and Biddeford. This Saco Bay region contains the largest contiguous stretch of beaches and coastal wetlands in the state and has experienced some of the state’s most severe erosion problems. Although the focus on the study was on the vulnerability of the communities as a whole, part of the assessment identified roads in the region that will be vulnerable to inundation under different SLR scenarios.

Related Organizations: Saco Bay Sea Level Adaptation Working Group (SLAWG), Maine State Planning Office, Maine Department of Conservation

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Preparing for Tomorrow’s High Tide: Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment for the State of Delaware – Transportation Infrastructure

July 2012

This Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment describes and quantifies impacts of sea-level rise (SLR) on 79 resources in Delaware, including transportation resources. The Assessment discusses projections of SLR for Delaware, defines the method used to determine potential vulnerability to SLR, and provides analysis of each resource category. Among these resources, the Assessment addresses Delaware’s transportation infrastructure, including railroad lines, roads and bridges, and the Port of Wilmington.

Related Organizations: State of Delaware, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC)

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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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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Florida Sea-level Rise Sketch Planning Tool for Transportation

October 2015

The University of Florida (UF) developed a geographic information system (GIS)-based “sketch planning tool” to help transportation planners in Florida identify transportation infrastructure potentially vulnerable to projected sea-level rise. The sketch planning tool offers a mapping function to visualize areas that will be affected by different sea-level rise scenarios based upon surface elevations and the location of infrastructure.   The tool is also customizable for experienced users to allow them to create more spatially refined inundation surfaces.

Related Organizations: University of Florida, Florida Department of Transportation

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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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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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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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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Arizona DOT Resilience Pilot Program

August 2015

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is pursuing a “Resilience Pilot Program” (RPP) to improve data and modeling with the aim of reducing incidents of flood, hydraulic-related failure, and extreme weather damage to critical transportation infrastructure. A key element to the new RPP is a partnership with the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS). Leveraging USGS’s resources, the RPP is currently testing new technology such as fixed-wing drone, quad-copter hovercraft and ground based LiDAR imaging to better assess the siting, design, and construction of ADOT’s assets where they interchange with rivers, stream, creeks and floodplains.

Related Organizations: Arizona Department of Transportation, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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