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Infrastructure Resilience

Recent Developments

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This section describes recent developments related to transportation-related sustainability. If you would like to suggest a recent development on this topic, please submit a short description to AASHTO (including any pertinent links) on the  Share Info with AASHTO form.

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Caltrans Seeks Applicants for Adaptation Planning Grants

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is seeking applications for $20 million in climate change adaptation planning grants to local and regional agencies. The funding, which is available for three fiscal year cycles from 2017 to 2020, can be used to advance adaptation planning related to the state’s roads, railways, bikeways, trails, bridges, ports, and airports. Applications are due Oct. 20. For more information, link to the grant application guide. (September 2017)

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TxDOT Uses AquaDam Technology to Hold Back Flood Water

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) used a new technique to taper off flood water on roadways due to Hurricane Harvey. The equipment, called AquaDam, is a mobile dam that is filled using existing floodwater to act as a barrier for up to 30 inches of water. The technology can be applied to rising water or already flooded roads and takes four to eight hours for installation. AquaDam has been used in three locations in Houston and in the Beaumont area on Interstate 10. For information, link to the announcement. (10-11-17)

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AASHTO to Host Resiliency Peer Exchange on Extreme Weather and Climate Change

The Center for Environmental Excellence by AASHTO is sponsoring an assembly of key DOT stakeholders on Nov. 6-7 to contribute to an important dialogue on resiliency. This day-and-a-half conference will host state-level professionals to discuss both strategies and challenges for building more resilient transportation systems. For more information, link here. (10-2-17)

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Oregon DOT Pilot Explores Natural Protection for Coastal Highway

The Oregon Department of Transportation evaluated nature-based infrastructure to protect against storm surge and sea level rise along three stretches of coastal highway under a pilot project funded by the Federal Highway Administration. The pilot is documented in a report, Green Infrastructure Techniques for Resilience of the Oregon Coast Highway. ODOT learned that the segment in most critical need of reinforcement may not be the right place to apply nature-based options such as cobble beaches, and that traditional “hard” engineering may still have benefits in some situations depending on the characteristics of the location. ODOT's designs showed promise for other locations with less wave energy and slower erosion. For more information, link to the report. (9-26-17)

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Texas Resilience and Planning Workshop Described in Summary Report

The Federal Highway Administration has issued a summary report on a workshop held in Texas to address climate change and extreme weather resilience and planning. The workshop, held on June 21, 2017, included presentations on new requirements in the transportation planning rule and Texas Department of Transportation’s perspective on resilience planning. It provided examples of resilience planning in the Austin region and discussions of actions the North Central Texas Council of Governments is taking to address vulnerabilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth region. Participants discussed several strategies for implementation and provided additional resources for coordinating with agencies on hazard mitigation planning. For more information, link to the report. (9-20-17)

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Rhode Island Issues Executive Order to Combat Climate Change

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo has issued Executive Order 17-10 to establish goals toward mitigating the effects of climate change in the state. The order calls for the establishment of a chief resiliency officer to develop a statewide “Action Plan to Stand Up to Climate Change.” The plan, to be submitted by July 1, 2018, will address infrastructure, environmental, community, and economic resiliency efforts and will include a prioritized list of resiliency resolutions. The plan also will identify funding sources and facilitate stakeholder engagement for implementation. For more information, link to the order. (9-20-17)

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FHWA Webinar Series Focuses on Climate Resiliency

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced a series of webinars highlighting the results of the agency’s climate and extreme weather resilience-focused projects. The webinars will address numerous FHWA studies and pilot projects concerning the impacts of changing climate conditions and extreme weather events on transportation projects. The webinars will address green infrastructure, FHWA’s climate change and extreme weather vulnerability assessment framework, and the vulnerability of transportation systems affected by Hurricane Sandy. The webinars will be held from Sept. 28 through Nov. 16, 2017. For more information, link to the announcement.

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FTA Waives Requirements in Response to Hurricane Harvey Emergency

The Federal Transit Administration has waived certain regulatory requirements in response to the Hurricane Harvey emergency in Louisiana and southern Texas. Under the waivers, public transit agencies may provide service for evacuations, return evacuees to their homes, transport utility workers, and provide service to shelter residents so long as the activity is directly related to Hurricane Harvey and takes place within 45 days of the presidential emergency declaration. The waiver allows the use of public fleets without creating a conflict with the charter rule, under which transit agencies using federal funds do not compete with private bus companies. The notice also includes a list of emergency repair and recovery activities that are considered categorical exclusions and thus do not require further National Environmental Policy Act approvals. In addition, the waivers address relief projects that do not need to be listed under transportation improvement programs and the emergency procurement of goods. For more information, link to the announcement. (9-6-17)

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Florida Flood Risk Planning Tool Highlighted in FHWA GIS Newsletter

The Federal Highway Administration’s Summer 2017 issue of the GIS in Transportation newsletter highlights the available tools and geospatial data being developed for flood risks in Florida. The newsletter discusses the Sea Level Rise Scenario Sketch Planning tool created by the University of Florida’s GeoPlan Center. The tool can be used to assess sea level rise impacts to identify facilities potentially affected under 100 scenarios. The tool was tested during regional planning with two metropolitan planning organizations under the Federal Highway Administration’s Climate Change Resilience Pilot Program. The tool was updated to include a remapping of inundation layers and a new web map viewer for data visualization. The GeoPlan Center anticipates technical training for MPOs and transportation planning organizations so that the tool may be used in a long-range planning process. For more information, link to the newsletter. (9-1-17)

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U.S. DOT Provides $25 Million in Emergency Relief Funds to Texas

The Federal Highway Administration will provide $25 million in emergency relief funds to help Texas repair flood damaged roads and bridges following Hurricane Harvey. The funding will be used to restore emergency access and to initiate the most critical repairs to damaged roadways and bridges. For more information, see the announcement. (8-29-17)

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Arizona DOT Helps Expedite Equipment Deliveries to Texas Following Hurricane

The Arizona Department of Transportation is helping to transport urgently needed equipment to Texas by waiving fees and expediting permits for commercial vehicles hauling oversize loads. The process, which is expediting shipments such as emergency power generators, will remain in place as long as the presidential disaster declaration remains in place. ADOT is coordinating with other state departments of transportation to share oversize load requirements. For more information, link to the announcement. (8-30-17)

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Dutch Resilience Lessons Shared With Federal, State Highway Officials

Lessons shared with federal and state transportation representatives by officials at the Rijkwaterstaat (RWS), the Netherlands’ Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, are documented in a report, Resilient and Sustainable Transport—Dutch Style (FHWA-HEP-17-089). The report documents the RWS’ experiences using the European ROADAPT methodology along with analysis of climate change vulnerabilities and adaptation strategies using the FHWA’s sensitivity matrix and Vulnerability Assessment Scoring Tool (VAST), both part of the FHWA Climate Adaptation Framework. The tools are being used to develop robust and flexible climate adaptation measures and integrate them into a project to expand two segments of the A58 highway between Tilburg and Eindhoven. The effort is part of an ongoing technology-sharing collaboration between the two countries. For more information, link to the report. (8-22-17)

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World Road Association to Host Seminar on Climate Adaptation in Cuba

The World Road Association has announced an international seminar on climate adaptation, risk, and disaster management for roads and road organizations, to be held Havana, Cuba, on Nov. 8-10, 2017. The event will address how to mitigate negative effects and how to adapt the roads to climate change and extreme events. For more information, link to the announcement. (8-29-17)

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FHWA Report Highlights EPA Region 5 Peer Exchange on Resilience

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has released a report concerning the peer exchange on resilience in transportation planning and project development that occurred in April 2017, in Chicago. The peer exchange facilitated discussion between FHWA and the Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 states regarding approaches to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions analysis in transportation project development. The report includes an overview of climate resilience in planning and group discussions of the planning and environment linkages processes and emissions mitigation during construction. The report also highlights peer presentations concerning Ohio Department of Transportation’s resilience plan and Wisconsin DOT’s 2016 flooding and recovery response. Exchange participants agreed that a detailed GHG analysis would not add value and believed that climate change and extreme weather considerations could become common elements of National Environmental Policy Act purpose and need statements. For more information, link to the report. (8-23-17)

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Fact Sheet Describes Inspection Practices for Culverts, Storm Drains

The latest methods for inspecting culverts and storm drain systems are described in a fact sheet compiled by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. The “Research Ready Results” fact sheet outlines the Culvert and Storm Drain System Inspection Manual developed under NCHRP project 14-26. The new manual introduces element-level condition reporting, with inspection and rating procedures for 14 culvert or storm drain components. It establishes a five-point rating system and recommends inspection frequencies and procedures. The new system is under review for publication as an AASHTO guide. For more information, link to the Research Ready Results fact sheet and NCHRP report 14-26. (July 21017)

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Legal Toolbox to Help Maryland, Virginia with Green Infrastructure

The Environmental Law Institute has released a legal toolbox to help Maryland and Virginia develop green infrastructure that accounts for the impacts of climate change. Currently, neither state considers climate adaptation and resiliency in stormwater site design, a consideration that would aid decisions on where to locate stormwater facilities, how to size them, and what maintenance is needed. The report includes a review of the green infrastructure strategy and the current legal framework for stormwater management in Virginia and Maryland. The report also highlights developments in environmental site design from the Center for Watershed Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency. The report recommends that Virginia revise regulations regarding the stormwater local assistance fund and update its website for stormwater best management practices. The report also recommends that Maryland modify its stormwater design manual and flood management plans. For more information, link to the report and related fact sheet. (August 2017)

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FHWA Report Highlights Use of Climate Data In Project Development

The Federal Highway Administration has issued a report to help practitioners use climate change data to inform decisions at the asset level for transportation engineering and design projects. An overview of FHWA research on climate change and transportation is provided to focus on the agency’s Gulf Coast Study and the first round of the Climate Change Resilience Pilot Program. How and where to integrate climate considerations into project development and what sources are available for climate projections are also highlighted. In addition, the report provides common variables used in designs such as, temperature data and average rainfall, and includes guidance for conducting economic analyses to select efficient designs. For more information, link to the report. (July 2017)

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Report Identifies City Resiliency Efforts to Combat Climate Change

City resiliency planning efforts to address urbanization, globalization, and climate change are highlighted in a new report released by 100 Resilient Cities. Boston is implementing equity goals to extend its metro transit system and New Orleans is developing new systems for flood protection at the neighborhood scale by accounting for the differences in each district. New York launched the Resilient Edgemere Community Planning Initiative to help the Edgemere neighborhood combat severe storms by elevating homes, raising the shoreline, and rededicating open land for use as public space. The Rockefeller Foundation is a supporter of 100 Resilient Cities. For more information, link to the report. (7-26-17)

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Partnership Seeks to Address California Climate Change Vulnerability

A partnership between California agencies and nonprofit organizations is working to assess the San Francisco Bay Area’s vulnerability to climate change and rising sea levels. The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, the San Francisco Estuary Institute, and the nonprofit Spur are partnering on the Shoreline Adaptation Strategies project to develop action plans for different segments or “units” of the bay shoreline, with the goal of increasing the long-term resilience for that place. The project will define segments of bay shoreline that work as a unit to support ecological systems. Each segment will have an adaptation strategy that could include structural adaptations or policy solutions such as changing zoning and building codes, establishing easements, and transferring of development rights to adapt to sea level rise. The project is expected to be completed in 2018. For more information, link to the announcement. (7-13-17)

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FHWA Study Evaluates Infrastructure Resiliency in Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway

Infrastructure resiliency practices in Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway are addressed in a report issued by the Federal Highway Administration. The report addresses policies implemented in the three countries concerning government support for climate resilience and collaboration between scientists and transportation engineers to apply climate projections to transportation designs. The Danish Road Directorate is using climate models to update future storm depths and Norway multiplies past conditions by a climate factor to project future conditions. Instead of using climate models, the Netherlands increases rainfall depth-duration-frequency by 30 percent and uses four climate change scenarios to account for uncertainty under a broader range of events. FHWA is applying these findings to the FHWA Climate Adaptation Framework. For more information, link to the study. (7-5-17)

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Caltrans Funds Transit Projects via Cap-and-Trade Program

Caltrans has awarded $34.5 million to 125 local projects under the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program. The program is funded via auction proceeds from the states’ cap-and-trade program to invest in transit projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change impacts. The local projects involve the expansion of transit service on the San Bruno Rapid Line, extension of the light rail transit service in the San Gabriel Valley, and improvements to the city of Modesto’s transit to increase safety and mobility for customers. Funding will also permit the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District to purchase one zero-emission, battery-electric public transit bus and charging infrastructure to replace one diesel-fueled bus. For more information, link to the announcement. (7-3-17)

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Weather and Winter Maintenance Addressed in Transportation Research Record

Eleven research papers concerning maintenance services, transportation weather, and winter maintenance are provided in the Transportation Research Board’s Transportation Research Record. The papers concern the use of calorimetry to measure ice-melting capacity, bundling or grouping pavement bridge projects strategies, and the use of snow fences to reduce impacts of snowdrifts on highways. The papers also include a review of snow removal performance metrics, implementation of anti-icing technology, improvement of project prioritization in Texas and use of calorimetry to measure ice-melting capacity. For more information, link to the publication. (6-3-17)

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TCRP Report Reviews Practices for Extreme Weather at Bus Stops

The Transit Cooperative Research Program has released a report concerning best practices for transit stops susceptible to extreme weather. The report, a review of 32 transit systems, finds that clearing snow and ice at bus stops is the most common problem, and that there is often a disconnect over who is responsible for clearing bus stops. The report also finds that temperatures are getting higher and hot weather is lasting longer, creating safety hazards. The report specifies that most agencies have an extreme weather plan and that public announcements are effective for communicating bus stop conditions. The report also suggests there is no definitive response but that agencies realize that adapting to extreme weather is necessary to protect their infrastructure and customers. For more information, link to the report. (5-29-17)

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Materials Posted from AASHTO Resilient and Sustainable Transportation Systems Committee Meeting

Materials from the May 24 meeting of AASHTO's Resilient and Sustainable Transportation Systems (RSTS) steering committee have been posted on the RSTS page of the Center for Environmental Excellence website. RSTS is designed to help state DOTs understand the potential effects of climate change and the range of strategies and options for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Under AASHTO's new committee structure, RSTS will be combined with AASHTO's Special Committee on Transportation Security and Emergency Management (SCOTSEM) to form the new Committee on Transportation Systems Security and Resilience.

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Best Practices for Variable Speed Limit Signs Described in FHWA Report

The Federal Highway Administration has issued a report describing the state-of-the-practice on variable speed limit (VSL) signs. The report describes how VSL systems have been successfully implemented in the U.S. for congestion-based active traffic management, work zones, and weather. It also includes lessons learned and best practices from the perspectives of planning and policy; design, deployment and standards; operations and maintenance; and outcomes. According to the report, VSL infrastructure requirements include changeable speed limit signs, weather/environmental sensors, traffic speed/volume sensors, and communications equipment. For more information, link to the report. (5-25-17)

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Report Describes City-Business Collaboration for Resilience Planning

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) has issued a report on the incorporation of city-business collaboration for climate resilience planning. C2ES joined officals in Arizona, Florida, Missouri, and Rhode Island to prioritize resilience needs using the Disaster Resilience Scorecard, a tool developed by IBM and AECOM. The common interests and needs between businesses and cities are highlighted, as well as the importance of collaboration to sustain political momentum to ensure planning benefits a broader representation of the community. The report suggests that cities include sustainability planners and emergency managers in planning efforts; develop personal relationships to encourage high-level outreach; conduct a vulnerability assessment; and examine local insurance incentives for resilience. For more information, link to the report. (May 2017)

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Report Details Minnesota Climate Adaptation Efforts

Climate resiliency efforts in Minnesota are highlighted in a new report issued by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The 2017 Interagency Climate Adaptation Team (ICAT) Report serves to update the 2013 release and represents efforts among state agencies to address climate change issues. An overview is provided of the state’s changing climate conditions including substantial warming and increased precipitation throughout the year along with projected climate impacts such as continued loss of cold weather. The report also highlights extreme weather, pest and disease management and energy emergency planning implemented by state agencies. ICAT recommends that the state prepare for extreme precipitation, focus on impacts in cities and towns and strengthen the climate information infrastructure. For more information, link to the report. (May 2017)

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Clarification on Climate Impacts in NEPA Reviews Issued by FHWA

The Federal Highway Administration has issued a memo to explain the withdrawal by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) of guidance on how federal agencies should address climate change in National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews. Due to the withdrawal, the guidance no longer applies to environmental assessments or environmental impact statements conducted by the FHWA. More information on FHWA policy regarding environmental reviews will be issued as it becomes available. Under the guidance, the CEQ advised agencies to quantify direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions and to consider alternatives to make communities more resilient. For more information, link to the announcement. (5-19-17)

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Framework Issued for Community Climate Planning

The National Association of Climate Resilience Planners has issued a framework for community-based organizations to create climate solutions. Climate planning at the local level supplements public sector planning by allowing residents to define the climate challenges and solutions. The report identifies characteristics of effective community planning and highlights guiding principles such as systems and ecological thinking and development of resources and political will to implement climate plans. Case studies on environmental justice planning in New York and the creation of Gulf Shore Rising, a regional movement to combat climate-based disasters, also are highlighted. For more information, link to the report. (2017)

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FHWA Seeks Projects on Integrating Extreme Weather, Asset Management

The Federal Highway Administration is soliciting applications from state DOTs for developing case studies on integrating extreme weather and climate risk into asset managementpractices. The pilots also would develop a whole life cost management plan for at-risk assets. The agency expects to select and provide partial funding for 4 to 6 pilots. The program is aimed at states that have at least begun to consider risks from extreme weather events and climate change. Webinars to describe the pilot program will be held on May 15 and May 22. For more information, including webinar registration, link to the call for pilots. (5-11-17)

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Report Describes Ability for Urban Climate Resiliency

A framework for urban climate preparedness is addressed in a new report issued by Georgetown Climate Center. The report includes data from interviews; a review of city adaptation plans; feedback from city practitioners and researchers; and a literature review to help cities prosper in the face of climate disruptions. Seven capacities for adaption are highlighted that include scientific foundation, technical design, financial resources and intergovernmental alignment. The report examines the first wave of city adaptation, the emerging infrastructure of information for urban resiliency and the role that philanthropic investment plays in infrastructure development. The report also highlights the importance of voluntary action, the sending of market and price signals and mandating behaviors in city plans. The report indicates that the number of cities with sophisticated plans is still low and few cities have moved from adaption planning to implementation. For more information, link to the report. (March 2017)

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Vulnerability Assessment of Greater Rochester Region Issued

A final report on the assessment concerning vulnerabilities of regional transportation infrastructure to natural and human-caused hazards within the Greater Rochester region in New York has been released by the Federal Highway Administration. The project was conducted by the Genesee Transportation Council (GTC), the region’s metropolitan planning organization, in accordance with the FHWA’s Climate Change and Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment Framework. The report describes GTC’s efforts to analyze the vulnerabilities of regional transportation assets. The assessment involved the development of hazard profiles to understand various hazards, see where the hazard is known to occur and provide hazard mitigation strategies. For more information, link to the assessment. (5-1-17)

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Case Study Describes Weather Resiliency Efforts in Louisiana

Resiliency efforts made by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD) during extreme rainfall events in 2016 are addressed in a new case study issued by the Federal Highway Administration. LADOTD received $2 million under FHWA’s Emergency Relief (ER) Program to repair bridges, roadway pipes and damaged slopes along roadways in a manner that prevents damage from future weather events. FHWA encourages agencies to improve resiliency during routine rehabilitation cycles. The case study addresses repairs made to a metal culvert pipe under Highway 437, which provided a longer design life and resulted in improved performance during flooding. The case study also highlights the installation of sheet pile walls at Highway 77 to protect the road during storms. For more information, link to the case study. (4-25-17)

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Factsheet Addresses Resilience Integration for Transportation Planning

The Federal Highway Administration has issued a factsheet to outline how agencies can address extreme weather and climate resilience in transportation planning. FHWA and the Federal Transit Administration updated metropolitan and statewide transportation planning provisions to require agencies to consider resiliency in planning. The updated provisions recommend that metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) consult with officials who are responsible for natural disaster risk reduction and include a requirement for transportation plans to assess capital investment to reduce vulnerability. The document provides examples of integration of resilience at each stage of the planning process that address regional vision and goals, project evaluation and prioritization and long range transportation plans. FHWA is currently developing resources to aid agencies with resiliency integration. For more information, link to the fact sheet. (January 2017)

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Oregon DOT Report Describes Climate Resiliency Efforts in Tillamook County

Efforts to build climate resilience in Tillamook County, Ore., are addressed in a report by the Oregon Department of Transportation. The report focuses on the county’s ability to adapt to flooding on major highways and local roads, landslides and sinkholes that occurred in 2015, and adapting to new climate conditions. The report highlights the importance of communication, building community capacity, and maintaining infrastructure for successful storm response. It also highlights the importance of supporting staff members during long hours to effectively manage weather disasters. The report indicates that agencies and communities struggled to manage events when emergency protocols weren’t clear. For more information, link to the report. (4-13-17)

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UTC Newsletter Describes Role of Rail Transit in Evacuations

The role that rail transit plays in moving large numbers of people to safety during extreme weather events is the focus of the University Transportation Centers Program monthly UTC Spotlight newsletter. The issue focuses on whether access to evacuation centers differs for various population sectors in New York City. The study, conducted by New York University’s Wagner School, indicates that distance to evacuation centers is widely related to the built environment. The study also suggests that groups with high percentages of African Americans tend to be further from evacuation centers while the opposite was observed for Hispanic populations. The study provides the basis to develop a transit evacuation vulnerability index. For more information, link to the newsletter. (4-7-17)

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Weather Impacts on Texas Freight Industry Analyzed in New Report

The vulnerability of freight infrastructure to extreme weather events is addressed in a new report by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. The report provides an overview of the Texas freight industry and highlights plans to address extreme weather, including public and private cooperation, redundancy in routes and the storage of extra vehicles to replace disabled ones. The report includes case studies that focus on freight impacts from major flooding in 2015 and 2016, Hurricane Ike, and the 2011 ice event in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Government mitigation efforts, including the Federal Highway Administration’s climate resilience pilot program and state department of transportation practices and programs are also highlighted. For more information, link to the report. (4-3-17)

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Executive Order Calls for Reversal of Climate Policies

President Trump has issued an Executive Order that revokes several climate-related policies developed during the Obama administration, including the Climate Action Plan and guidance concerning consideration of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change effects in National Environmental Policy Act reviews. The order calls for the immediate review of actions that affect the development of domestic energy resources, including the Clean Power Plan, and the subsequent termination, revision or suspension of related provisions. The social cost of carbon will be evaluated to ensure estimates of costs and benefits are based on the best available science and a moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands will be rescinded. For more information, link to the order. (3-28-17)

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Report Describes Use of Road Weather Information Systems in Montana

The use of road weather information systems (RWIS) for transportation applications is addressed in a report issued by the Montana Department of Transportation. RWIS are networks of weather sensors used by transportation agencies to monitor weather on maintained roads. The report includes a review of the history of RWIS use, data adequacy, site selections and geographic coverage practices. The report also addresses current RWIS use, management and planning within 24 states, the needs of stakeholders that use RWIS information in Montana and software solutions to address agency needs. In addition, it includes a benefit cost analysis to calculate economic outcomes for different RWIS alternatives and a model for assessing new environmental sensor station sites to expand RWIS systems. For more information, link to the report. (3-26-17)

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FHWA Releases Long-Term Pavement Performance Climate Tool

The Federal Highway Administration has issued a new climate tool as part of the agency’s Long Term Pavement Performance database. The tool provides convenient access to worldwide climate data including temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind and solar, and allows users to select data by country and state or province. The climate data are from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) data. The tool includes a map module with GIS-based data files. For more information, link to LTPP InfoPave and a descriptive overview. (3-8-17)

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Road Weather Management Subject of FHWA Technical Brief

The Federal Highway Administration has released a technical brief on performing benefit-cost analyses of road weather connected vehicle applications. The brief addresses how to use benefit-cost analyses when selecting systems for collecting and using road weather data from connected vehicles. The report provides a case study using a hypothetical situation to show how to measure costs and benefits and what information is needed. The brief is based on the 2013 report Road Weather Connected Vehicle Applications - Benefit-Cost Analysis. For more information, link to the brief. (3-9-17)

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Accomplishments of the U.S. Global Change Research Program Highlighted

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has released a report highlighting the accomplishments of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, a working group that coordinates research across 13 federal agencies on climate change and other issues. The program has developed global observational systems and improvements in modeling capabilities and understanding the carbon cycle. The report recommends that the program sustain, expand and coordinate observations to support the needs of the nation at all levels. For more information, link to the report. (2-15-17)

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AASHTO Issues Transportation Resilience ‘Roadmap’ Report

A roadmap for activities related to improving transportation systems resilience has been developed by the AASHTO Special Committee on Transportation Security and Emergency Management (SCOTSEM). The report, Understanding Transportation Resilience: A 2016–2018 Roadmap for Security, Emergency Management, and Infrastructure Protection in Transportation Resilience, is intended as a discussion tool for SCOTSEM and other committees from AASHTO and the Transportation Research Board to guide their approach to sponsoring and participating in national transportation resilience-related activities. It describes efforts including a national summit and peer exchange to be held in 2018, development of transportation resilience white papers, and development of a chief executive officer primer on transportation resilience and a series of CEO engagement forums. For more information, link to the report. (1-30-17)

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FHWA Report Evaluates State DOT and Road Weather Project

The Federal Highway Administration has released a report on a project to provide information and guidance to state departments of transportation and the weather information providers regarding methods and best practices for collaboration and the integration of weather information into daily transportation operations. The Pathfinder project began in 2014 in four states to document current DOT interactions and working relationships with the weather providers. Best practices were documented to help disseminate consistent messages to prompt travelers to change departure times, cancel trips, choose alternate routes or select different modes of transportation. For more information, link to the report. (1-31-17)

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Hydraulic Engineering Circular 17 Addressed in FHWA Webinars

The Federal Highway Administration is holding webinars on Feb. 8 and 22, 2017, regarding the recently released Hydraulic Engineering Circular (HEC 17): Highways in the River Environment – Floodplains, Extreme Events, Risk and Resilience. The first webinar will address climate modeling and risk and resilience, while the second webinar will focus on an analysis framework and case studies. The webinars are part of a series that also includes one that addressed floodplains, riverine flood events and nonstationarity. All webinars are being recorded. For more information, link to the FHWA hydraulics information. (1-30-17)

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Report Highlights Atlanta Regional Commission Climate Peer Exchange

The Federal Highway Administration has released a report concerning the climate resilience peer exchange held by the FHWA and the Atlanta Regional Commission. The exchange brought together stakeholders to discuss adaptation options, risk assessment and project prioritization for climate resilience. The report highlights presentations on climate change impacts in the Atlanta region and how it effects human health. The report also provides peer presentations that highlight extreme weather adaptation to planning and sustainability in the North Central Texas region and surface transportation resilience planning in Florida. Several resources were suggested to meet resilience requirements under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, such as performance measures to consider climate change in project prioritization process, a menu of adaptation and resiliency strategies and assistance in conducting a cost-benefit analysis. For more information, link to the report. (1-24-17)

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FHWA Releases FAQ on Emergency Relief Program and Resilience

The Federal Highway Administration has released a list of questions and answers addressing how FHWA emergency relief program funds may be used to rebuild a damaged highway in such a way to prevent future damage from extreme weather events. The FAQ specifies that though funds are provided to restore facilities to pre-disaster conditions, improvements are allowed if consistent with current standards or if it would save the FHWA money over time. Specifically, repairing facilities to current geometric and construction standards does not count as a “betterment.” Also, funds may be used to add protective features to a facility if the benefits outweigh the costs within the facility’s lifetime. For more information, link to the FAQ. (1-23-17)

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EPA Issues Smart Growth Options for Climate Change Adaptation

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a report concerning the development of land use and building code policies to adapt to climate change. The report provides policy options that will provide environmental, economic, health, and societal benefits. The report addresses barriers to climate change and adaptation measures for flooding and extreme precipitation, rising sea levels, drought and wildfire. The report also includes practice pointers, community examples and references to credit summary language and metrics from community-scale rating systems. For more information, link to the report. (1-19-17)

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FHWA Project Aims to Help Engineers Develop Climate-Resilient Infrastructure

The Federal Highway Administration has issued a framework and case studies to help transportation engineers design infrastructure solutions that are more resilient to future extreme weather events and climate change. The documents are the latest installment in FHWA’s Transportation Engineering Approaches to Climate Resiliency (TEACR) Study, which looked at a diverse set of transportation assets around the country to identify best practices for improving the resiliency of the transportation system. Available information includes the Adaptation Decision-Making Assessment Process (ADAP) along with seven case studies. The project also will include two additional case studies, a synthesis report, and a new module to be added to FHWA’s vulnerability assessment framework. For more information, link to the TEACR website. (12-23-16)

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GAO Recommends Using Forward-Looking Climate Info for Building Standards

The Government Accountability Office has issued a report recommending that the Secretary of Commerce convene federal agencies for an ongoing government-wide effort to provide climate information to standards-developing organizations. The information would be for their consideration in the development of design standards, building codes and voluntary certifications. The GAO found that continuing to build with current standards and codes could cost the government billions of dollars in repairs, flood insurance and disaster relief. For more information, link to the report. (1-3-17)

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TRB Releases Report Summarizing Symposium on Transportation Resilience

The Transportation Research Board has released “Transportation Resilience: Adaptation to Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events,” a report summarizing an international symposium held in Brussels on June 16-17, 2016. The symposium brought together high-level experts from the European Union and the U.S. to discuss disruptions to the transportation system resulting from climate change and extreme weather events. The report focuses on the technical, financial and policy challenges to better plan, design and operate the transportation network before, during and after extreme and/or long-term climate events. For more information, link to the report. (12-20-16)

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TRB Releases Report on Highway Bridge Damage Assessment

The Transportation Research Board’s has released Synthesis 497: Post-Extreme Event Damage Assessment and Response for Highway Bridges under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. The report reviews the procedures that state departments of transportation and local authorities in Los Angeles County and New York City use to assess the damage in bridges in response to extreme events and conduct emergency response activities. The report specifies that extreme events include those with geological sources, those from hydro-meteorological sources, or those of man-made origin. For more information, link to the report. (12-19-16)

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Report Reveals Benefits of Green Infrastructure in Washington, D.C.

The Georgetown Climate Center has released a report regarding green infrastructure implementation in the Washington, D.C. area. The report provides a cost benefit analysis of green infrastructure strategies such as green roofs, bioretention and reflective pavements to account for future net benefits. The report indicates that the benefits would outweigh the costs by providing the city with $5 billion over a 40-year period in benefits by adopting such mechanisms. Benefits include energy cost savings, improved air quality, reduced stormwater runoff, climate change mitigation and increased employment and resilience. For more information, link to the report. (12-12-16)

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FHWA Releases Report on Alaska DOT Climate Resilience Project

A final report on the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and the Alaska Federal Land Management Agencies climate resilience pilot project has been released by the Federal Highway Administration. The project is part of a program to study transportation vulnerability to extreme weather events and climate change and to evaluate options to improve resilience. The report highlights case studies for the Kivalina Airport and Denali Park Road projects to understand vulnerabilities of engineering design. The report identifies adaptation solutions for minimizing impacts of sea level rise and future permafrost thaw and slope instability. For more information, link to the report. (9-16-16)

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Boston Releases Final Report on Climate Resilience

A final report has been released for Climate Ready Boston, an initiative led by the City of Boston to enhance near- and long-term climate change preparedness and resiliency. The report predicts how climate change will impact Boston and details the findings on vulnerable populations, buildings, infrastructure, the shoreline and the economy. The report also provides an extensive analysis of climate resilience initiatives and a roadmap for strategic implementation. Climate Ready Boston is coordinated with both Imagine Boston 2030 and 100 Resilient Cities. For more information, link to the report. (12-8-16)

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Video Addresses Human Causes of Disaster and Mitigation Technologies

Resources for the Future has released a video addressing human causes of disaster and new technologies and policies to decrease impacts. The video includes discussion led by Robert Muir-Wood, chief research office of Risk Management Solutions, on how decisions made about how homes are built, where people choose to live, how society prepares, and how leadership communicates warnings determines whether a disaster can be combatted. For more information, link to the video. (11-28-16)

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District of Columbia Releases Plan to Adapt to Climate Change

The District of Columbia's Department of Energy and Environment has released Climate Ready DC, the District's plan to adapt to a changing climate. The plan highlights climate change impacts for the District and climate risks and vulnerabilities for infrastructure, community resources, people and natural resources. The plan also outlines adaptation strategies for transportation and utilities, buildings and developments, neighborhoods and communities, and governance and implementation. It also identifies 77 actions the District can take to reduce the risks posed from climate change. For more information, link to the report. (11-15-16)

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Report Highlights Lessons from Post-Hurricane Sandy Design Competition

A new report from the Georgetown Climate Center describes the lessons learned from the Hurricane Sandy Rebuild by Design Competition projects. The projects demonstrate innovative approaches for rebuilding that are resilient to future climate impacts and other environmental changes, and to social and economic stressors. The report, “Rebuilding with Resilience: Lessons from the Rebuild by Design Competition after Hurricane Sandy,” includes case studies detailing how recipients of funding in New Jersey and New York are working to transition the conceptual proposals developed during the competition to projects that can be implemented on the ground. For more information, link to the report. (11-14-16)

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Report Examines How Communities Are Addressing Climate Risks

The Kresge Foundation has released a report that examines what 17 communities are doing to address climate risks. The report, “Climate Adaptation: The State of Practice in U.S. Communities,” finds that communities are often motivated by an extreme event and are more focused on reducing current vulnerabilities to extreme events than addressing future climate impacts. For each community, the report assesses what event motivated climate action, the actions they are taking, the strategies they are using to implement adaption action and their achievements. For more information, link to the report. (11-16-16)

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National Park Service Releases Coastal Adaptation Strategies Handbook

The National Park Service has released the Coastal Adaptation Strategies Handbook for 2016. The handbook provides guidance for NPS managers, partners and other practitioners in exploring and implementing climate change adaptation strategies in estuarine and coastal areas. The handbook addresses policy, planning, natural resources, cultural resources, facility management, communication and education, the costs and impacts of protecting infrastructure, and lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy. For more information, link to the handbook. (10-31-16)

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White House Highlights Opportunities for Climate Resiliency

The U.S. Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience has issued a report on opportunities to increase the nation’s resilience to climate change. The report helps federal agencies support science and research on climate change impacts; ensure that federal operations and facilities are resilient to climate change; protect critical infrastructure and other public goods; and facilitate community-based resilience efforts. The report includes 17 opportunities in three themes, providing examples of each. The report was released in conjunction with the Resilience Dialogues tool that helps stakeholders collaborate on climate challenges. For more information, link to the report fact sheet. (10-31-16)

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FHWA Releases Factsheet on Road Weather Management Framework

The Federal Highway Administration has released a factsheet highlighting the capability maturity framework (CMF) for road weather management (RWM). The RWM CMF assesses the institutional capacity of an agency or region to respond to adverse weather conditions from both a maintenance and operations perspective. The CMF defines the process improvement areas and levels of capability and, following an agency’s or region’s self-assessment, specific actions are identified to increases capability across the desired process areas. The RWM CMF is one in a series of CMFs that have been developed under the Strategic Highway Research Program 2 (SHRP2), with others addressing areas such as traffic management and planned special events. For more information, link to factsheet. (10-24-16)

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Study Focuses on Transit Agency Experience with Extreme Weather

A study on U.S. public transit agency experience in responding to extreme weather events has been conducted by the University of Florida, Center for Urban Transportation Research, The report includes findings from a June 2016 survey of data from 352 transit professionals in 197 transit agencies. The responses address recent experiences; perception of weather and climatic risks; assessment of organizational priority, capacity and challenges of managing extreme weather; and organizational responses and adaptation measures. The study found that extreme snow storms have caused the most severe impacts while flooding has the second greatest impact on transit agencies. The most common consequence was a significant delays in transit service, followed by temporary shutdowns and damage to vehicles or equipment. More than half of the respondents indicated that their agencies had used re-routing or partial closures of some routes due to extreme weather. For more information, link to the report. (10-15-16)

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FHWA Releases Final Rule on Risk-Based Asset Management Plans for NHS

The Federal Highway Administration has released a final rule to address new requirements for states to develop and implement risk-based asset management plans under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). In addition to requirements for developing such plans, the final rule addresses the scope and timing of the evaluations state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) must perform to determine whether there are reasonable alternatives to roads, highways, and bridges that have required repair and reconstruction activities on two or more occasions due to emergency events. The final rule reduces asset management plan requirements for assets other than National Highway System pavements and bridges if state DOTs include other assets in their plans. It also specifies the criteria for determining whether a state DOT has developed and implemented its asset management plan. For more information, link to the final rule. (10-21-16)

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Report Profiles How Three Cities are Institutionalizing Resilience

100 Resilient Cities has released a report regarding how three cities -- New Orleans, La.; Melbourne, Australia; and Semarang, Indonesia -- have institutionalized resilience. The report defines “institutionalizing resilience” as permanently establishing the function and structure of a Chief Resilience Officer and integrating and mainstreaming the concept of resilience into city services, plans and initiatives. Each case study provides information on the design, budgeting, engagement, and the key best practices learned from these institutionalizing efforts. For more information, link to the report. (10-17-16)

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ASLA Issues Guide for Resilient Landscape Planning

The American Society of Landscape Architects has released a guide to resilient design to help communities protect themselves from natural disasters. Resilient landscape planning retrofits communities to recover quickly from extreme events and allows them to work with nature and instead of against it. The guide includes numerous case studies demonstrating solutions for biodiversity loss, drought, extreme heat, fire, flooding and landslides. The guide facilitates the use of adaptive techniques to provide communities with a cost-effective means to maintain vital functions in the face of rising sea levels and rising global temperatures. For more information, link to the guide. (9-20-16)

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FHWA Case Study Highlights NEPA Climate Change Analysis in Florida

The Federal Highway Administration has released a case study regarding the inclusion of climate change considerations in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process for the Florida Department of Transportation’s First Coast Expressway Project. The case study discusses how FDOT evaluated the project, which includes a new bridge, for climate change impacts related to sea level rise and storm surges. FDOT and the FHWA combined historical sea level data with projected global sea level rise projections, global hurricane projections, and localized storm surge modeling to assess whether each proposed alternative could be affected by future coastal flooding. For more information, link to the case study. (9-30-16)

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NOAA Releases Tool to Help Urban Areas Build Climate Change Resilience

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced the release of “Built Environment,” a new addition to the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit that is designed to address a range of climate change-related risks facing cities and towns. The tool provides information, case studies, decision support tools, planning guides, training courses, reports actions plans and links to regional experts. The Climate Resilience Toolkit was first launched in 2014. For more information, link to the tool and press release. (9-30-16)

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TRB Videos Highlight Climate Change and Resiliency Challenges

The Transportation Research Board has released a series of videos covering webinars that discuss ways in which transportation agencies can comply with new climate- and resiliency-related requirements under the FAST Act. The five videos discuss how highway and transit agencies can adjust to extreme weather events, build more resilient infrastructure, address increased flooding, incorporate data-driven decisions, and address economic and management concerns. For more information, link to the videos. (10-4-16)

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FHWA Posts Alaska Climate Trend Vulnerability Study Report

The Federal Highway Administration has posted a report presenting the findings of a study examining three transportation projects in Alaska for potential vulnerability to climate change and extreme weather events. The study focused on how a better understanding of changing climate conditions could lead to more informed decisions on transportation asset investments and used an eleven-step process for engineering vulnerability assessment to develop findings. The report found that future efforts to incorporate changing climate conditions into engineering decision-making will require a coordinated effort and that relatively low cost options can be viable strategies for dealing with climate change-related vulnerabilities. For more information, link to the study. (9-26-16)

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FHWA Case Studies Highlight NEPA Climate Change Analysis in Two States

The Federal Highway Administration has released two case studies regarding the inclusion of climate change considerations in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process. The Massachusetts case study examined how MassDOT evaluated climate change considerations for the South Cost Rail Project, intended to restore commuter rail service between Boston the Massachusetts South Coast. The environmental impact statement included climate analysis for sea level rise impacts on track, stations and layover facilities, as well as cumulative impact analysis of climate on salt marshes, fisheries and vernal pools. The New York case study examined the NEPA analysis for the reconstructed Tappan Zee Bridge. The study gives an overview of how NYSDOT evaluated the projected sea level rise and its conclusions that the new bridge is not vulnerable to current or future flooding. For more information, link to the case studies for Massachusetts and New York. (9-27-16)

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FHWA Case Study Highlights New York Climate Resilience Pilot

The Federal Highway Administration has released a case study on the extreme weather vulnerability assessment conducted by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) under the FHWA’s Climate Resilience Program. NYSDOT collaborated with The Nature Conservancy to assess the vulnerability of culverts in the New York portion of Lake Champlain Basin. NYSDOT developed a new decision support tool to help determine when a culvert replacement is warranted based on risk, environmental importance, and economic benefits and cost. For more information, link to the case study. (9-28-16)

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FHWA Announces Webinars on CEQ’s Climate Change Guidance

The Federal Highway Administration has announced two webinars to provide overviews of the Council on Environmental Quality’s Final Guidance for Federal Departments and Agencies on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Effects of Climate Change in National Environmental Policy Act Reviews. The guidance provides a framework for agencies to consider both the effects of a proposed action on climate change and the effects of climate change on a proposed action. The webinars are scheduled for Sept. 30 and Oct. 4, 2016. The webinars will cover the same material. For more information, link to FHWA's climate adaptation webpage. (9-20-16)

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White House Announces Partnership, Joint Declaration on Climate Resilience

The White House has announced the launching of the Partnership for Resilience and Preparedness (PREP), a public-private collaboration which will identify priority-information needs, reduce barriers to data access and usability, and develop an open-source platform to enable sharing and learning of data and information on climate resilience. Partners include Amazon, Google and Microsoft. The administration also has signed on to a Joint Declaration on Harnessing the Data Revolution for Climate Resilience. The declaration is signed by 13 other nations and calls for concrete actions to increase international climate resilience through improving accessibility and usability of data. For more information, link to the press release. (9-22-16)

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FHWA Posts Report on Alameda County Climate Resilience Pilot

A final report on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s climate resilience pilot project for Alameda County, Calif., has been posted by the Federal Highway Administration. The project is part of a federal program to study transportation vulnerability to extreme weather events and climate change and to evaluate options to improve resilience. The project assessed adaptation options for a subset of key transportation assets vulnerable to sea level rise, focusing specifically on assets in the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Peninsula, the Oakland Coliseum Area and the State Route 92 Corridor. The report identifies adaptation strategies as potential solutions to protect key bridge, highway, transit and community assets from future flooding. For more information, link to the report. (9-13-16).

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EPA Issues Report on Green Infrastructure, Climate Change Charrette

The Environmental Protection Agency has released a report concerning the Green Infrastructure and Climate Change Resiliency Charrette, hosted by the Green Infrastructure Program and Urban Waters Partnership Program. The charrette explored ways in which green infrastructure could help the cities of Albuquerque, Grand Rapids, Los Angeles, and New Orleans become more resilient to climate change. The report includes case studies that highlight the benefits of green infrastructure practices, the collaboration across city agencies, the unification of solutions across multiple disciplines, and the efficiencies in project implementation within each city. For more information, link to the report. (9-1-16)

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FHWA Case Study Highlights Tennessee DOT Climate Resilience Pilot

The Federal Highway Administration has released a case study on the extreme weather vulnerability assessment conducted by the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) under the FHWA’s Climate Resilience Program. TDOT partnered with Vanderbilt University to develop a statewide GIS-based inventory of the state’s critical transportation assets across various modes and identified historical and future extreme weather scenarios to determine where transportation assets are most vulnerable. The assessment serves as a screening process for more detailed study and provides input for developing TDOT’s risk-based transportation asset management plan. For more information, link to the case study. (9-2-16)

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FHWA Case Study Focuses on Michigan DOT Climate Resilience Pilot

The Federal Highway Administration has released a case study on the climate vulnerability assessment conducted by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) under the FHWA’s Climate Resilience Pilot Program. MDOT formed a Technical Advisory Committee and internal working group, composed of state agencies, academic institutions and various other stakeholders, that was tasked with integrating the assessment into MDOT’s decision-making process. The committee and working group gathered information concerning key climate stressors; conducted an assessment of transportation assets to precipitation and extreme heat; analyzed the consequences of removing an asset from service; and performed a risk analysis for five areas across the state. MDOT identified high-risk assets and determined that additional data on elevation, flood plains and land use are needed to create a robust assessment. For more information, link to the case study. (9-2-16)

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    Minnesota DOT's climate vulnerability assessment is helping the agency address threats such as this flooded culvert in District 6.

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