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Multi-Agency Transportation, Land Use, and Climate Change Scenario Planning Project

April 25, 2013

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A multi-agency group of Federal agencies led by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is seeking to partner with a metropolitan planning organization (MPO) and Federal land management agencies (FLMAs) in the region to conduct a new study to advance the state of practice in incorporating climate change analysis - both mitigation and adaptation - in scenario planning.  FHWA's Federal partners - the US DOT Volpe Center, US Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, US Forest Service, Federal Transit Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Environmental Protection Agency - will provide technical assistance to the project.

Description of the Opportunity
In order to advance the state of practice in incorporating climate change analysis into scenario planning, the Federal partners are seeking to implement one pilot project in an inland area of the country. The Federal agencies are seeking to partner with an MPO and FLMA(s) to complete this study. The project will inform transportation and land use decision-making in the selected study area by using scenario planning to analyze strategies to reduce GHG emissions and adapt to climate change impacts.  The goals of the project are to 1) advance climate analysis in scenario planning; 2) develop a transferrable process; 3) build partnerships; and 4) impact decision-making.

The FHWA and its partners are launching this new project to build off of and complement previous FHWA climate change efforts, including scenario planning technical assistance, an earlier pilot in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and a vulnerability assessment framework and related adaptation pilots across the United States.

The Interagency Transportation, Land Use, and Climate Change Cape Cod Pilot Project was a multi-agency project that took place between early 2010 and mid-2011. Conceived by a Federal interagency working group, it was jointly funded by FHWA, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Pilot Project provided a transportation and land use development scenario for Cape Cod, Massachusetts, focused on reducing future GHG emissions and anticipating the potential impacts of sea-level rise on the region. This scenario was derived from a process of data collection, scenario development by a consultant and regional and local government representatives during a workshop, and scenario assessment. The outcomes of this scenario planning process informed and supported the Cape Cod region's long-range transportation planning (LRTP) and other related efforts, as well as the planning efforts of other local, state, and federal agencies, including the Cape Cod National Seashore.

This new project will undertake a more detailed climate change analysis than was possible with the timeframe, resources, and tools available to the Cape Cod pilot.  In the intervening time between that pilot and the present, FHWA and other organizations have developed planning tools for analyzing the effectiveness of transportation and land use strategies for reducing GHG emissions.  In addition, the state of the practice in assessing vulnerability to climate change impacts and adaptation options has advanced.  These advances will be helpful in developing and implementing a methodology for incorporating climate change analysis in scenario planning.  Given that the pilot in Cape Cod focused on the coastal climate change impacts of sea level rise and storm surge, this new effort will focus on an inland area in order to explore impacts faced by these areas such as riverine flooding, heat waves, drought, wildfires, and responses to extreme weather events.

Roles and Responsibilities
The selected MPO and participating FLMAs will be expected to:

FHWA, the Federal partners, and associated consultants, in consultation and cooperation with the MPO and FLMA(s) will:

The FHWA will award one grant of approximately $25,000 to $50,000 (based on level of effort and need) to the selected MPO solely to cover MPO staff time to complete the tasks listed under Roles and Responsibilities. By Federal statute, a minimum 20% non-Federal match (80-20 cost share) is required for these funds to be awarded to the project area. Match above and beyond the 20% requirement is encouraged.  In-kind contributions such as staffing can be counted towards the match.  

In addition to the direct financial assistance, the Federal partners will deliver analysis and technical assistance (both directly and through a consultant) valued at approximately $350,000 to $600,000. 

Application Process
MPOs interested in applying to this opportunity are asked to submit a letter of interest and letter(s) of support from at least one FLMA proximate to the proposed study area. FLMAs include Bureau of Land Management, US Army Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and National Park Service.  These letters should be submitted to FHWA by May 30, 2013. Please email letters of interest to with CC to The Volpe Center ( is available to help MPOs reach out to FLMAs to garner a letter of support.

Required Contents for Application

1. Letter of interest submitted by the MPO. This should be 5 to 10 pages and include descriptions of the following elements:

2. Letter(s) of support submitted by proximate FLMA(s), which include the following elements:

Other letters of support from local elected officials or other stakeholders are optional.

Selection Criteria
Projects will be selected based on the following criteria:

Dates are subject to change.

  1. Solicitation distributed.
    (April 30, 2013)
  2. Letters of interest from area MPO and letter of support from partner public land(s) submitted to FHWA (email with a CC to
    (DUE: May 30, 2013)
  3. Selection of study area and first meeting with study area.
    (June - July 2013)
  4. Identify and select scenario planning tool and consultant
    (Summer - fall, 2013)
  5. Collection of data and expert elicitation or climate change impact analysis/modeling
    (Summer - fall, 2013)
  6. Conduct scenario planning workshop
    (Spring, 2014)
  7. Develop selected scenario and analyze scenario performance
    (Spring - summer, 2014)
  8. Complete final products
    (Summer - fall, 2014)

Contacts and Assistance in Connecting with FLMAs
To discuss this project, for more information, or for assistance in connecting with FLMA partners, please contact:


Resources related to the Cape Cod Pilot

FHWA Resources related to scenario planning, climate change and extreme weather adaptation, and GHG mitigation


Updated: 2/17/2016
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