Publications & Tools - Climate Change Adaptation
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- Sensitivity Matrix (Excel file) (2015) - Spreadsheet tool that documents the sensitivity of roads, bridges, airports, ports, pipelines, and rail to 11 climate impacts.
- Guide to Assessing Criticality in Transportation Adaptation Planning (also in PDF, 949KB) (2015) - Discusses common challenges associated with assessing criticality, options for defining criticality and identifying scope, and the process of applying criteria and ranking assets.
- CMIP Climate Data Processing Tool (2015) User Guide (also in PDF, 2.5MB), Tool for CMIP3 Data (Excel file, 23.7MB), Tool for CMIP5 Data (Excel file, 60.9MB) (2015) - Spreadsheet tool that processes raw climate model outputs from the World Climate Research Programme's Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) CMIP3 and CMIP5 databases into relevant statistics for transportation planners, including changes in the frequency of very hot days and extreme precipitation events that may affect transportation infrastructure and services by the middle and end of the century.
- Vulnerability Assessment Scoring Tool (2015) User Guide (also in PDF, 1.5MB), Tool (Excel file, 2MB) - Spreadsheet tool that guides the user through conducting a quantitative, indicator-based vulnerability screen. Intended for agencies assessing how components of their transportation system may be vulnerable to climate stressors.
- Climate Change and Transportation Infographic - (January 2016) This infographic shows the importance of taking action early to plan for infrastructure resilience and to cut transportation greenhouse gas emissions. It summarizes actions that state and regional transportation agencies can take. (PDF 1 MB)
- TechBrief: Climate Change Adaptation for Pavements (August 2015)
This TechBrief from FHWA's Office of Infrastructure describes climate change impacts on pavement systems along with specific pavement adaptation strategies that can be implemented now and in the future.
- FHWA Climate Change Resilience Pilots Peer Exchanges Summary Report. (June 2015) On July 16 - 17th, 2014, FHWA hosted a set of peer exchanges in Baltimore, Maryland, that brought together the climate resilience pilot teams to share ideas, success stories, and lessons learned related to assessing and managing climate-related impacts on transportation assets and operations. This document is a summary of the key takeaways and insights from the peer exchange presentations and discussions.
- Integrating Climate Change in Transportation and Land Use Scenario Planning - An Example from Central New Mexico - (April 2015) This project used scenario planning to analyze strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change impacts, alongside other community goals, in the greater Albuquerque area of central New Mexico. The project demonstrated how climate change considerations can be incorporated into transportation and land use scenario planning and provided analysis that was incorporated into the region's long range transportation plan. (PDF 4 MB) Additional Project Information
- Gulf Coast Study Reports - (January 2015) This groundbreaking U.S. DOT study produced tools and lessons learned that transportation agencies across the country are using to assess vulnerabilities and build resilience to climate change. Reports include 1) synthesis of lessons learned and methods applied; 2) criticality assessment; 3) climate projections and sensitivity assessment; 4) vulnerability assessment; 5) engineering assessment of adaptation options. Summaries and multi-media materials also available.
- Building Climate Resilient Transportation - (January 2015) Four page graphic summary of how FHWA, states, and regions are responding to climate change and what transportation agencies can do. (PDF, 2.8MB)
- International Practices on Climate Adaptation in Transportation (January 2015) - Presents leading practices in climate adaptation from abroad that may be useful to US transportation agencies.
(PDF 2.2 MB)
- Federal Lands Southeast Region Climate Change Transportation Project (November 2014) -
FHWA partnered with the U.S. National Park Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a project to develop a tool to help agencies manage their transportation assets in the face of climate change. Major project components include: (1) a synthesis report of federal lands climate change efforts and current best practices; (2) a Southeast Region Climate Change and Transportation Tool to help National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges assess climate vulnerabilities and develop adaptation strategies; and (3) workshops at four pilot units (two parks and two refuges) to test best practices and tool components. (PDF 1.3 MB)
- Hydraulic Engineering Circular 25, Vol. 2: Highways in the Coastal Environment: Assessing Extreme Events (October 31, 2014) - provides technical guidance and methods for assessing the vulnerability of coastal transportation facilities to extreme events and climate change, focusing on sea level rise, storm surge, and waves. (PDF, 6.89MB)
- Culvert Management Case Studies: Vermont, Oregon, Ohio and Los Angeles County (June 2014)- This report describes how four agencies are managing maintenance and increasing the resilience of their culvert systems.
- Managing External Threats through Risk-Based Asset Management(March 2013) explains how risk-based asset management serves as a climate adaptation strategy.
- Planning for Systems Management and Operations as Part of Climate Adaptation (March 2013) - This white paper presents various effects of climate change, and how those effects will impact transportation system management and operations. Also presented are presents various options for agencies to assess the vulnerabilities of transportation systems and proposed changes to make transportation operations more resilient to climate change.
- Assessment of the Body of Knowledge on Incorporating Climate Change Adaptation Measures into Transportation Projects (December 2013) - This report highlights adaptation actions that transportation agencies are pursuing and articulates a growing set of best practices for implementing adaptation. The report also discusses strategies, examples, and best practices for evaluating the costs and benefits of adaptation. The purpose of the report is to provide transportation practitioners with a guide to the current "state of practice" in this field. (PDF 1.2 MB)
- FHWA Climate Change & Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment Framework (December 2012) - This document is a guide for transportation agencies interested in assessing their vulnerability to climate change and extreme weather events. It gives and overview of key steps in conducting vulnerability assessments and uses in-practice examples to demonstrate a variety of ways to gather and process information. (PDF 2.2 MB)
- A Framework for Considering Climate Change in Transportation and Land Use Scenario Planning: Lessons Learned from an Interagency Pilot Project on Cape Cod (July 2011) - FHWA and the Volpe Center have developed a guidebook that discusses the steps taken during the pilot project and presents lessons learned and recommendations that will guide other areas in pursuing a similar multi-agency approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and plan for climate change impacts through integrated transportation and land use scenario planning. (PDF 2.2 MB)
- The Use of Climate Information in Vulnerability Assessments (January 2011) - This memorandum focuses on the use of climate information when performing a vulnerability assessment. The memorandum describes several sources of precipitation and temperature information, and provides some recommendations on how this information can be used by transportation planners as they consider their climate-related risks. The memorandum has an Appendix which outlines some of the methods employed by pilots to estimate the impacts of sea-level rise. (PDF 400 KB)
- Assessing Criticality in Transportation Adaptation Planning. (June 13, 2011). This memo discusses approaches for narrowing the universe of transportation assets to study in a climate change vulnerability and risk assessment by assessing their "criticality" and otherwise narrowing study scope. It identifies common challenges, and draws on examples from the FHWA Adaptation Conceptual Model Pilots and the ongoing USDOT Gulf Coast Phase 2 study. Also available as Adobe PDF for printing. cta092111.pdf (113 KB)
- Regional Climate Change Effects: Useful Information for Transportation Agencies (May 2010). Also in PDF: Report & Appendix A (1.3MB), Appendix B (17.5MB), Appendix C (463KB). - This document provides basic information on projected future climate change effects (changes in temperature, precipitation, storm activity and sea level rise) over the near term, mid-century and end-of-century. The report includes two appendices: maps for some of the climate change effects, and a "typology" of projected climate change information gleaned from recent reports.
- Climate Change - Model Language in Transportation Plans. (May 2010) This document provides excerpts from various MPOs and DOT's transportation plans that illustrate how climate change considerations have been integrated into the documents. Agencies that are looking for ideas about how to incorporate climate change into their transportation plans could find the model language very useful. (PDF 89 KB)
- Educating the Public on Climate Change Issues: DOT and MPO Best Practices or PDF - 129Kb. (June 15, 2010) This document summarizes outreach activities and public education initiatives used around the country by State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to educate the public on transportation-related climate change issues.
- Literature Review: Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Assessment, and Adaptation Approaches. (July 2009) This document details how vulnerability, risk, and adaptation assessments have been or could be used to integrate climate change impacts into transportation decisions and ultimately increase the adaptive capacity of the highway system.
- Impacts of Climate Variability and Change on Transportation Systems and Infrastructure – Gulf Coast Study (March 2008) The research, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), was conducted under the auspices of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP). This report, the first in a three-phase effort, assesses the potential climate-change-related impacts to transportation infrastructure in the U.S. Gulf Coast region and describes ways to incorporate climate change issues into transportation planning. The major drivers of climate change examined in the report were rising sea levels, warming temperatures, precipitation pattern changes, and increased intensity of storm activity.
- Integrating Climate Change into the Transportation Planning Process (July 2008). This study reports on opportunities for States and MPOs to incorporate climate change considerations into long-range transportation planning (LRTP) processes, including adaptation and mitigation practices. The study also describes examples of current state and MPO practices that link climate change and the LRTP process.
- The Potential Impacts of Global Sea Level Rise on Transportation Infrastructure - Atlantic Coast Study (October 2008). This study assesses the potential net effects of sea level rise, and associated increases in storm surges, on transportation infrastructure coastal states and low-lying regions on the Atlantic coast from New York to Florida. Using statistics from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the report describes several scenarios for sea level rise and provides a series of statewide and county maps that visualize the potential impacts of sea level rise on transportation infrastructure.
- TRB Electronic Circular E-C164: Climate Change and Transportation: Summary of Key Information highlights the key findings of a variety of studies on the subject of climate change and its ramifications for the transportation sector conducted by the National Research Council, the principal operating agency of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering; TRB; and other organizations.(July 2012)
- The National Research Council has released a new booklet and video designed to help the public gain a better understanding of what is known about climate change. The new resources are based on a number of independent reports from the National Research Council that represent the consensus of experts who have reviewed hundreds of studies describing many years of accumulating evidence.
The 36 page booklet, entitled Climate Change: Evidence, Impacts, and Choices answers commonly asked questions about the science of climate change in three parts. The booklet lays out the evidence of climate change being observed around the world, summarizes projections of future climate changes and impacts expected in this century and beyond, and examines how science can help inform choices about managing and reducing the risks posed by climate change.
The video, Climate Change: Lines of Evidence, follows Part 1 of the booklet. It explains the lines of evidence that have built the current scientific consensus about climate change and its causes.
- Coastal Sensitivity to Sea-level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region (January 2009). This study, CCSP SAP 4.1, sponsored by EPA, assesses the impacts of sea-level rise on the physical characteristics of the Mid-Atlantic coast, on coastal communities, and the habitats that depend on them. The report examines multiple opportunities for governments and coastal communities to plan for and adapt to rising sea levels. [USDOT was a contributing author to Chapter 7.]