Transportation

What does adaptation look like in the transportation sector?

ARCCA’s Roadmap to Resilience aim to answer this question by highlighting recommended adaptation measures and their associated planning activities to help local agencies accelerate their adaptation efforts. This roadmap is structured by climate impact for ease of navigation and to align with existing funding structures. It is important to note that local agencies should aim to coordinate at the regional scale to work with neighboring jurisdictions to leverage limited resources, work towards a shared regional vision, and to gain economies of scale.

Higher Temperatures & Extreme Heat
Promote the use of innovative materials and infrastructure design
Key sector implications addressed: increased risk of road, bridge, and railroad track failure; and pavement and asphalt cracking and rutting, including at airport runways.
Adaptation Measures Planning Activities
Require staff and/or contractor education to ensure climate adaptation and resilience knowledge, and to utilize climate-resilient materials
  • Develop new design standards that incorporate climate projections, such as on maximum temperatures
  • Review and update procurement and permitting processes to require contractors and developers to utilize climate-resilient strategies and materials
  • Conduct lifecycle cost analyses of new heat and rut-resistant materials
Implement asset management system and increase monitoring and maintenance schedules to minimize repair backlogs
  • Adjust frequency of monitoring and maintenance, and incorporate the consideration of climate change impacts and extreme weather events into routine operations
  • Develop a plan to standardize collaboration and coordination among key departments (e.g. emergency management) to enhance asset management
Use and promote the use of cool (high albedo) pavements
  • Utilize best-available climate projections and heat maps to identify priority parking lots, roads, sidewalks, and bicycle and pedestrian pathways and opportunities
  • Conduct lifecycle cost analyses of different types of cool pavements
Use and promote shading techniques such as through urban forestry or solar PV for parking lots, bike and pedestrian pathways, streets where possible
  • Develop list of canopy trees adapted to future climate conditions
  • Develop design guidelines for a climate-resilient parking lot incorporating EV charging, solar PV, and/or tree canopy
  • Develop, incentivize, and enforce tree-shading ordinances for parking lots. Incentivize siting of solar PV over parking lots, especially in conjunction with electric vehicle charging stations
  • Develop policies to encourage/incentivize the simultaneous installation of irrigation channels – to facilitate tree planting and green infrastructure – when trenching to install electrical conduits for EV charger installation
Encourage transit design decisions that reduce the urban heat island effect and account for extreme heat events
Key sector implications addressed: vehicles overheating, congestion, and network delays; and decreased comfort and/or health risks for public transit users, pedestrians, and cyclists
Adaptation Measures Planning Activities
Use passive cooling techniques at transit stops
  • Map urban tree canopy and identify opportunities to implement urban forestry projects at public transit stops
  • Conduct cost-benefit and feasibility analyses of passive cooling techniques including urban forestry, urban greening, shade structures, and protected bus stops
Reduce energy use of transit facilities
  • Benchmark energy use of transit facilities and prioritize strategies to reduce energy use by installing LEDs, retrofitting street lights, and installing smart controls
Expand transit service and make transit more convenient and comfortable for customers
  • Develop a transportation “hot-spot” map to idenfy where the mixture of climate impacts, population increases, transportation demand and demographics make communities most vulnerable to climate change impacts
  • Conduct feasibility analysis to assess expansion of bus service via tripper services to relieve overcrowding on key routes during peak service periods and to provide service to cooling centers
  • Conduct feasibility analysis to explore opportunities to implement a feeder bus service for seamless transfers between bus and commuter rail
Promote active transportation
Key sector implications addressed: vehicles overheating, congestion, and network delays; and decreased comfort and/or health risks for public transit users, pedestrians, and cyclists
Adaptation Measures Planning Activities
Improve alternative transportation routes to make walking and bicycling more convenient and comfortable for community members
  • Convene a bicycle and pedestrian advisory committee, conduct surveys, and/or organize charettes to identify community needs and requests to enhance active transportation infrastructure and services
  • Develop a tree canopy map and identify shaded routes to promote to community members and to share with navigation/map application developers
  • Identify and prioritize highly used active transportation corridors for the installation of protected bike lanes, urban forestry, water fountains, benches, bike pumps and repair stations, art, and other strategies to make alternative transportation more attractive to community members
  • Develop a Complete Streets Implementation Plan, Bicycle Plan, Pedestrian Plan, or similar plan that accounts for climate impacts, supports a multi-modal transportation system, and promotes active transportation
Educate active transportation users about heat illness prevention and treatment
  • Translate technical studies and data to a format that is easier to understand by community members
    Develop an outreach strategy that incorporates multiple communication channels to share extreme heat advisories with active transportation users, in collaboration with key departments (emergency response, public health, etc.)
  • Conduct feasibility analysis to explore partnerships with commercial companies such as Lyft, Uber, car2go, bike share, to solve the first-mile/last-mile issue for transit users.
  • Ensure all bus routes are fitted with GPS trackers that provide real-time ETA that can be accessed by smartphone app and displayed on stations
Drought, Extreme Weather & Flooding
Develop multimodal transportation routes and promote alternative modes of transportation
Key sector implications addressed: increased risk of damage to evacuation and emergency response routes, impair goods movement, and disrupt energy and fuel distribution systems
Adaptation Measures Planning Activities
Develop alternate routes or services to provide a variety of travel options and to ensure safe and dependable evacuation routes, and maintain continuity of travel when service is disrupted
  • Identify alternatives to vulnerable and critical routes, and update emergency response plan. Develop risk-mitigation plan for vulnerable and critical routes, and set up a regular inspection and maintenance schedule
  • Conduct charettes to better understand user abilities, available modes of travel, and mobility needs to inform the identification of alternate routes and critical services including evacuation services for those with limited mobility and without access to automotive vehicles
  • Develop planning guidelines that incorporate the increased role of clean transportation networks including clean cars, transit, biking, and walking in reducing fuel dependency, connecting communities, and providing equitable evacuation routes
  • Identify actions to preserve habitat connectivity and reduce fragmentation, including retrofitting existing transportation infrastructure that are current barriers to migration
Promote the adoption of electric vehicles
  • Assess the impacts and opportunities associated with vehicle electrification and other advanced clean cars on timing and demand for energy supplies (at the same time that climate impacts are occurring and causing changes to energy demand) and better understand the reliability of energy supplies for all vehicles in the face of expected climate impacts
  • Design a strategic network of recommended locations for public charging stations and hydrogen fueling infrastructure that will help reduce range anxiety, and design a network of solar-powered (or solar plus storage) charging stations along key transportation corridors
  • Develop an outreach plan to build relationships with businesses to encourage the installation of workplace chargers
Convert public fleets to utilize alternative energy sources
  • Identify funding opportunities, financing mechanisms, and rebates for the purchase of zero-emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles and charging infrastructure
  • Provide outreach and education to fleet managers on operational costs and performance of ZEVs, charger installation, vehicle selection, etc. to facilitate fleet conversion
  • Develop an implementation plan and schedule for converting public fleets
Incentivize alternative modes of transportation and carpooling
  • Conduct a feasibility analysis of incentives for alternative modes of transportation, carpooling, carsharing, and telecommuting
  • Convene community workshops, particularly for low-income communities, to better understand barriers to purchasing electric vehicles, carpooling, and utilizing alternative modes of transportation
Enhance water infiltration and stormwater management
Key sector implications addressed: increased risk of landslides and erosion washing away transportation infrastructure and increased land subsidence from heightened groundwater use during drought
Adaptation Measures Planning Activities
Use and promote the use of permeable pavements and green infrastructure
  • Utilize best-available climate projections, flood maps, and identified sites of repetitive flooding to identify vulnerable parking lots, roads, sidewalks, and bicycle and pedestrian pathways and opportunities to install permeable pavements
  • Develop training materials and/or convene workshops to educate developers and public works agencies on the benefits of permeable pavements and green infrastructure for commercial and residential construction
Ensure adequate drainage on roadbed surfaces and shoulders
  • Convene a cross-sector taskforce (including geologists, hydrologists, and engineers) to gain a comprehensive understanding of the existing drainage network
  • Create an interdepartmental taskforce on stormwater management and ensure critical transportation routes are prioritized and protected
  • Integrate low-impact development techniques into design standards
Protect infrastructure against landslides and erosion
Key sector implications addressed: increased risk of landslides and erosion washing away transportation infrastructure and increased land subsidence from heightened groundwater use during drought
Adaptation Measures Planning Activities
Implement slope hardening
  • Analyze stability and safety of existing natural or artifical slopes
    Conduct a cost-benefit analysis of availble monitoring instruments for measuring ground movement and groundwater conditions
  • Assess slope stabilization options including retaining walls, gabion walls, benched slopes, and vegetative stabilization mechanisms
  • Update design and constructions standards to require contractors to address slope protection, surface runoff, and groundwater issues
Install rockfall protection
  • Assess rockfall protection options including barriers, embankments, and other strengthening and support structures
Sea Level Rise, Storm Surge & Coastal Erosion
Extend planning horizon to account for long range sea level rise projections
Key sector implications addressed: inundation of low-lying areas and their roads
Adaptation Measures Planning Activities
Evaluate transportation sector vulnerabilities
  • Create downscaled models for sea level rise and costal flooding projections
  • Conduct an assessment of roads that are vulnerable to flooding (e.g. with 1.4 meters of sea level rise during a 100-year storm event)
Assess adaptation options
  • Conduct a cost-benefit analysis of relocating vulnerable routes and services to lower-risk areas
  • Evaluate existing infrastructure (e.g. underground parking lots) that can be retrofitted to retain floodwater
  • Evaluate the potential of nature-based solutions, including green infrastructure and wetland restoration, to protect existing transportation infrastructure
  • Evaluate the potential of nature-based solutions, including green infrastructure, wetland restoration, to protect existing transportation infrastructure
Establish development standards
  • Convene workshops to educate private land owners on climate risks and resiliency-building activities
  • Assess options to restrict or disincentivize development in areas vulnerable to coastal flooding
Increased Wildfire Risk
Reduce wildfire risk and damage
Key sector implications addressed: Damage to transportation infrastructure including critical evacuation routes, and secondary impacts to roadways from slope erosion, debris flow, and mudslides
Adaptation Measures Planning Activities
Enhance forest health and resilience
  • Assess options to scale and support markets for forest waste including biomass facilities and lumber mills
  • Design a public outreach campaign to encourage proper stewardship and management of forested lands
  • Develop partnerships across urban-rural boundaries to create a coordinated forest management strategy
Establish standards to reduce infrastructure and property damage
  • Convene workshops to educate private landowners on climate risks and resilience-building activities including defensible space zones, fire-resistant building materials and designs, window treatments, and recommended evacuation routes
  • Update design and construction standards to use heat- and fire-resistant materials in roadway and other transportation infrastructure construction.
  • Update design and constructions standards to require contractors to utilize fire resistent building materials and designs
Reduce the risk of mudslides and debris flow
  • Before wildfires strike, identify areas vulnerable to slide activity that are located in wildfire risk zones, and develop a plan to assess and monitor slope stability immediately following a fire. Identify in advance potentially affected roadways, affected critical facilities, and detour routes.
  • After a wildfire, identify destabilized slopes and develop mitigation actions to reinforce stability, and provide warnings to nearby residents.
Protect critical facilities and evacuation routes
Key sector implications addressed: damage to transportation infrastructure including critical evacuation routes
Adaptation Measures Planning Activities
Protect critical facilities and evacuation routes
  • Create a map of critical facilities and assets including hospitals, energy infrastructure, water infrastructure, and emergency response centers and assess resiliency building options such as creating defensible space zones
  • Create a map of routes to critical facilities and key evacuation routes; identify alternatives to vulnerable and critical routes. Develop and implement communications plan for residents so they understand primary and alternative routes.
  • Collaborate with emergency management to establish redundant emergency communications systems and contingency plans to ensure crucial supplies will not be cut off from impacted areas
  • Conduct a mobility needs assessment and identify opportunities to expand transportation services
Water

Coming soon!

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