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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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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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Cool Pavement Roads in Sydney, Australia

June 2014

The City of Sydney Australia is exploring the use of “cool pavements” (i. e. , lighter colored pavement) on roads to reduce the urban heat island effect in the city.  The City is evaluating the effectiveness of cool pavements through a demonstration project in which they propose to repave 600 sq. meters of a street in Chippendale, a suburb of Sydney, with lighter colored pavements. Cool pavements are one method of reducing higher temperatures in urban environments because lighter colored pavements absorb less heat energy.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Elevating Roads in Norfolk, Virginia

February 2014

The Norfolk, Virginia Department of Public Works invested $2. 4 million to improve two waterfront streets, Brambleton and Colley Avenues, to reduce flood impacts.   To reduce tidal flooding of the roadway the city elevated and widened Brambleton Avenue and rebuilt the intersection of Brambleton and Colley Avenues. Brambleton Avenue is a principal artery in downtown Norfolk that runs along the Elizabeth River and crosses over an inlet called the Hague.   The project was implemented to address recurrent flooding that was already occurring in the area, which has caused frequent road closures.

Related Organizations: City of Norfolk, Virginia

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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Caltrans Water Conservation Measures in Highway Landscaping

2014

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is using a variety of new materials and techniques to address drought conditions by reducing or eliminating water use on roadside landscaping.   New roadside landscaping projects may utilize recycled water, native grasses and plants that require little or no watering, innovative water collection techniques, and smart irrigation controls. Caltrans’ new water conservation efforts are designed to help meet or exceed state water use reduction goals and address growing water scarcity.

Related Organizations: California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)

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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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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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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New Jersey TransitGrid – Microgrid Project to Help Power NJ Transit

August 26, 2013

The New Jersey Governor’s Office of Recovery and Rebuilding, New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit), and the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) partnered to lead the design of NJ TransitGrid, an advanced electrical microgrid for the NJ Transit system in order to make the state’s transit infrastructure more resilient in the face of future extreme weather events and other disasters. NJ TransitGrid, which is being implemented also in partnership with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), will incorporate a natural gas-fired electric power generating plant as well as renewable energy and distributed generation.

Related Organizations: New Jersey (NJ) Transit, Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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