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Impacts of climate change and variability on transportation systems and infrastructure : Gulf Coast study, phase I
  • Published Date:
    2008-03-01
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Impacts of climate change and variability on transportation systems and infrastructure : Gulf Coast study, phase I
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  • Abstract:
    Climate affects the design, construction, safety, operations, and maintenance of transportation

    infrastructure and systems. The prospect of a changing climate raises critical questions

    regarding how alterations in temperature, precipitation, storm events, and other aspects of

    the climate could affect the nation’s roads, airports, rail, transit systems, pipelines, ports,

    and waterways. Phase I of this regional assessment of climate change and its potential

    impacts on transportation systems addresses these questions for the region of the U.S. central

    Gulf Coast between Galveston, Texas and Mobile, Alabama. This region contains multimodal transportation infrastructure that is critical to regional and national transportation services. This report presents the findings of the first phase of a three phase research effort. The ultimate goal of this research is to provide knowledge and tools that will enable transportation planners and managers to better understand the risks, adaptation strategies, and tradeoffs involved in planning, investment, design, and operational decisions. The objective of Phase I was to conduct a preliminary assessment of the risks and vulnerabilities of transportation in the region, after collecting and integrating the range of data needed to characterize the region – its physiography and hydrology, land use and land cover, past and projected climate, current population and trends, and transportation infrastructure. Subsequent phases will conduct more detailed analyses. Phase II will conduct an in-depth assessment of risks to transportation in a selected location, reporting on implications for long-range plans and impacts on safety, operations, and maintenance. This phase will also develop a risk assessment methodology and identify techniques to incorporate environmental and climate data in transportation decisions. Phase III will identify and analyze adaptation and response strategies and develop tools to assess these strategies, while enumerating future research needs.

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