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Transportation, Climate Change & Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment Webinar Series - June 12, 2013

Session 3 Q&A: "Applying the Results"

Question and Answer Session Summary

Question: What are some examples of the key metrics that Metro is tracking?
Response (Cris): These metrics have been developed and are included in the report that Metro submitted to FTA. Metro looked at industries outside of transportation that are more advanced, such as agriculture and insurance. Then we identified 109 different metrics from these industries that seemed applicable to transit. Of those metrics we looked at the top 20 based on a scoring system and selected about seven of these metrics. Many metrics are binary (yes/no). In these, a yes or no response will prompt you to either do more of what you are doing or to stop. Examples of these metrics include whether a vulnerability assessment has been conducted, whether vulnerable assets have been mapped, the number of expected injuries to riders and workers based on temperature rise, the capacity to monitor weather conditions in real time, and extreme weather impacts on service delays and cancelations.

Question: Does Metro have any specific plans for "greener" storm water management or using green infrastructure to provide flood protection/mitigation?
Response (Cris): Yes, Metro has already implemented such plans. For more information please visit our website at There you will see a menu of options under "Plans and Policies" that includes Metro's commitments. One commitment, for example, is LEED certification for any infrastructure projects over 10,000 square feet. As for greener storm water management, the Orange Line provides a good example. Implementation of Orange Line improvements incorporates low-impact development and implementing storm water strategies that are not normally seen in the region. Please refer to the website and send me any specific questions related to the Orange Line project or other examples.

Question: Is the Functional Design Report (FDR) completed before or during the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA)/Project Development Phase?
Response (Maureen): NEPA begins first and the FDR is conducted when the design phases is 25% complete.

Question: How does Boston determine what is a "critical link in the system"? Do you have established, written criteria, and do you rank or rate facilities based on criticality?
Response (Maureen): We don't actually rank facilities based on criticality, but we do prioritize based on the functional class of the roadway, traffic volumes, and evacuation routes. Critical infrastructure also comes into the mix as well. We tie into pre-disaster mitigation plans; at the community level, information is included in those plans. We also rely on professional judgment.

Question: What value of time does CTA use for passengers in estimating NPV for implementation strategies?
Response (Karl): We rely on U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) guidance. Our consulting team proposed a blended rate of value of time for recreational and business purposes. Our value of time falls in the $12 range, which is the average between the two. Within the scope of the sensitivity analysis, we can change the assumption or get a sense of a ratio of various uses of the system to refine this value further.

Question: What Asset Management system does CTA use?
Response (Karl): CTA uses the traditional Infor asset management system. Because I am not involved in asset management on a day-to-day basis, I will rely on CTA's infrastructure staff to provide a more specific answer. There are on-going projects to define the framework for a new generation of the asset management system.

Question: How does CTA determine sensitivity?
Response (Karl): It is best to illustrate sensitivity with an example. Take, for instance, two rail platforms - one is wood and the other is concrete. Even if they have the same exposure and the same context, meaning they are located in the same UHI or exposed to the same amount of sunlight, one material will presumably have more sensitivity than the other. Presumably a wood platform is more sensitive to extreme heat and precipitation. The same holds true not only for materials, but also different types of construction. Obviously a subway is less exposed than an aboveground structure, but it has its own level of sensitivity.

Question: Does the Boston Region MPO give priority to locations that flood at a drop of the hat?
Response (Maureen): Our GIS-based application uses natural flood zones identified by FEMA. As for areas that flood due to drainage problems or high tides, we factor in that information if we know about it, if it's documented in the FDR, or if a pre-disaster mitigation plan used that information.

Question: How were the inundation areas modeled for the various Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPC) sea-level rise scenarios in Boston? Was hydraulic connectivity addressed or was a "bathtub" approach used?
Response (Maureen): The "bathtub" approach was used.

Question: CTA mentioned that upfront capital costs can be a barrier. What were the estimates of the capital costs for the strategies CTA analyzed?
Response (Karl): Regarding capital costs for the rail buckling project area, the estimates are all preliminary results that will be refined in the coming months. The two build options are not greatly different in cost. The cost is on the order of about $11,250,000 for the concrete track bed versus just over $9,000,000 for improvements to the existing ballasted track bed, although different levels of improvements can come at different scales. Some upfront costs will be tempered by the on-going maintenance cost of the ballasted track bed.

Updated: 10/20/2015
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