Ongoing and Current Research
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- Building Climate Resilient Transportation (also in PDF, 2.8MB) - Four page graphic summary of current FHWA work on climate change adaptation. Describes how FHWA, states, and regions are responding to climate change and what transportation agencies can do.
- Climate Resilience Pilots - This project funds pilots for DOTs, MPOs, and FLMAs to implement a framework to use in conducting vulnerability and risk assessments of infrastructure to the projected impacts of climate change and extreme weather events and to develop adaptation options.
- Gulf Coast Study - FHWA is now publicizing the nationally applicable tools and lessons learned that emerged from this groundbreaking study. Products include tools to help transportation agencies process and interpret climate data, assess vulnerabilities, and analyze adaptation options. The research comprises a multi-modal study of climate change impacts and adaptation in the Central Gulf Coast region. Phase 1 (completed in 2008) examined the impacts of climate change on transportation infrastructure at a regional scale, while Phase 2 (completed in 2015) focused on a smaller region, enhancing regional decision makers' ability to understand potential impacts on specific critical components of infrastructure and to evaluate adaptation options.
- Hurricane Sandy Follow-up and Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Analysis - The objective of this project is to assess the impacts of October 2012's Hurricane Sandy, (and to a lesser extent, Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, and the Halloween Nor'easter in 2011) on the transportation assets within the greater NY- NJ - CT metropolitan region, assess the vulnerability of those assets to the impacts of extreme weather events and the possible future impacts of climate change, and identify adaptation strategies to increase the resilience of the transportation system.
- Transportation Engineering Approaches to Address Adaptation and Resiliency: The objective of this project is to develop recommended engineering practices for identifying and evaluating project-level vulnerabilities from future extreme weather events and climate change, and designing solutions to respond and adapt to those vulnerabilities. Engineering analyses of a diverse set of transportation assets around the country will be performed in order to identify best practices for improving the resiliency of the transportation system to extreme weather and climate change. The result will be a cross-cutting set of recommendations for engineering practice to cover a wide range of facility types and locations.
- Update to Riverine Hydraulic Engineering Circular (HEC) to Incorporate Climate Change - FHWA is updating publication HEC-17 with a second edition entitled, Highways in the Riverine Environment- Floodplains, Extreme Events, Risk and Resilience. The update will provide technical guidance and methodologies for considering/incorporating floodplain management, risk, extreme events (i.e., climate change and extreme weather), resilience, and adaptation considerations when addressing highway planning and design within the riverine environment. The reference manual will particularly focus on issues related to hydrology, statistics, risk assessments, and regulatory issues associated with precipitation and stream flow in a riverine environment. It follows HEC 25 Volume 2 - Highways in the Coastal Environment: Assessing Extreme Events.
- Operational Adaptation Guide - The FHWA Office of Operations is developing an operational adaptation guide. The guide is intended to help transportation operations managers identify threats and climate adaptation needs. This work follows on a report published earlier on planning for systems management under climate change.
- Technical Brief on Climate Change and Pavement Sustainability -Higher temperatures, longer heat waves, and flooding will accelerate the deterioration of highway pavements. This technical brief will provide more detailed information on impacts and adaptation solutions.
- Summary of FHWA Climate Adaptation Initiatives - A chronological summary of FHWA climate adaptation initiatives and how the work began and evolved.