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Transportation, Climate Change & Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment Webinar Series

Session 2 Q&A : System-Level Vulnerability Assessments

May 30, 2013 Question and Answer Session Summary

Question: Carol Lee, could you elaborate on the 'surprise' you mentioned from your initial pilot - the maintenance facility that was found to be vulnerable and is a linchpin in your maintenance system?

Response (Carol Lee): There is more detail in our report to FHWA on page 50. In short, we looked at the ferry system, which includes 22 terminals, and discovered that all ferries are serviced at one maintenance facility. The harbor that the facility is located in is subject to SLR and has contaminate sediments in place, so is has a fairly small footprint in terms of where it can grow and and evolve over time. We looked at these factors and the SLR projection for the harbor and determined that the facility is something WSDOT needs to consider and possibly develop a new strategy for servicing all our vessels.

Question: Is there a blank template for the flow charts the pilots used to select their transportation assets?

Response (Rob): We don't have blank versions; there may be something useful in the current version of the framework. Contact me for more information. (Sara) We're not aware of any template we developed for this project. (Jeff) We don't have a template either, instead we just talk to our stakeholders to identify the assets.

Question: Is there any science indicating a link between SLR and seismic rift? Do rising sea levels increase or decrease the frequency or severity of earthquake risk?

Response (Sara): We don't have the science to see how SLR will affect seismic rift. It is likely that that areas susceptible to liquefaction will expand, which was an important aspect of assessing vulnerability. SLR doesn't change frequency of seismic events, but it does affect how well assets will hold up during an event. They're very much linked in terms of our assessment of vulnerability and risk.

Question: How does subsidence relate to SLR?

Response (Jeff): When we looked at subsidence levels in terms of overall SLR, it made the situation worse. We were looking at 3.2 mm per year in certain parts of the Jersey shore on top of global SLR and the overall rate of increase is greater, so it's pretty significant. (Rob) It's great to work with your local environment agency to get a sense of the estimates of vertical motion of the land. In some areas we see subsidence, in some areas we actually see uplift which can moderate the effects of SLR.

Question: Do you know of and can you discuss studies that any private entities are conducting, including entities such as Class I railroads?

Response (Jeff): We have a freight initiative at NJTPA. We have been working on their needs and we have been conducting rail infrastructure studies. We talk to them about how climate change can impact their business. We are working with staff from the rail companies that operate those lines. (Rob) We included rail among the other modes we were looking at during the Gulf Coast 2 study. Gulf Coast 2 was focused solely on Mobile, AL and there is some information coming out later this year tied to rail in Mobile. We have had difficulty getting information from private sector ports and private sector rail.

Updated: 03/27/2014
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