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Summary Report: Workshops on Integrating Climate Change with Transportation Planning, October & November 2010

II. Scope and Approach

A. Workshop Host Identification and Selection

To identify host agencies for the workshops, FHWA worked with its consultant to create an initial list of candidates based on its knowledge of and research on climate change-related transportation planning activities and initiatives across the country. This initial candidate list included about 20 agencies, both DOTs and MPOs, across the country. FHWA then conducted additional research and interviewed officials of the candidate agencies to determine (a) the status of relevant activities/initiatives; (b) extent of issues and/or requirements to undertake climate change-related planning; (c) agency resource capacity to support such planning on a continuing basis; and (d) agency interest in hosting a workshop. FHWA also sought to achieve geographic diversity and to include candidates from both large and small agencies.

Based on this evaluation, FHWA identified and confirmed five agencies to host workshops, including two State DOTs, two MPOs, and one DOT/MPO partnership:

DOTs MPOs MPO/DOT Partnership
  • Florida DOT
  • Washington State DOT
  • Atlanta Regional Commission
  • Chittenden County MPO (Burlington, VT)
  • Lane Council of Governments (Eugene, OR) & Oregon DOT

B. Workshop Agenda/Content Development

FHWA worked with the consultant to develop a general framework for the workshop content and agenda, each of which would be further refined and "customized" based on each host agency's particular circumstances and needs vis-à-vis planning for climate change and transportation.

In general, FHWA designed the workshops to facilitate each agency's ability to more effectively integrate climate change considerations (both mitigation of GHGs and adaptation to climate change impacts) into the existing transportation planning process. Because consideration of climate change involves attempting to plan with incomplete data and for uncertain future circumstances, scenario planning1 is one approach that planners may use to help them better understand options and opportunities available to the agency. Thus, part of the basic framework for developing and implementing the workshops included how an agency might apply scenario planning techniques when considering climate change.2

In general, the pro forma agenda for the workshops included elements of the following topics:

  • Analyzing stakeholders and target decisions
  • Designing the process
  • Public and stakeholder involvement planning
  • Scenario development and evaluation techniques and tools
  • Fundamentals of scenario development
  • Communication techniques
  • Tying scenarios to principles and strategies
  • Establishing an action plan
  • Monitor indicators

With this basic framework established, FHWA and its consultant worked with each host agency to refine and adapt the agenda to its specific needs and interests. As discussed previously, it became clear during this process that scenario planning, while important, should be only one of several key climate change-related planning topics addressed in each workshop. In addition, FHWA consulted with each host agency to create a list of workshop invitees, with a focus on ensuring appropriate staff and officials from key agencies (State, regional and/or local) participated.

C. Workshop Execution

Each of the five workshops covered approximately one and a half days. FHWA conducted them during a 3-week period from late October through early November 2010. FHWA's consultant managed and facilitated the workshops, each of which included presentations from the consultant, FHWA and the host agency and its partner agencies. The workshops were highly interactive and provided significant time for questions, discussions and debate on both general climate change planning issues and topics specific to the host MPO or DOT setting.

Updated: 03/27/2014
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