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Development of a Geographic Information System (GIS) tool for the preliminary assessment of the effects of predicted sea level and tidal change on transportation infrastructure.
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    In this project, researchers from the University of Florida developed a sketch planning tool that can be used to conduct statewide and regional assessments of transportation facilities potentially vulnerable to sea level change trends. Possible future rates of sea level change were based on United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) projections and included tidal datum information (Mean Higher High Water, Mean High Water, Mean Low Water, and Mean Lower Low Water) compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. An interactive Geographic Information System (GIS) based planning tool framework was developed that builds upon the research completed under Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) contract BDK79 977-01, Development of a Methodology for the Assessment of Sea Level Rise Impacts on Florida's Transportation Modes and Infrastructure (Florida Atlantic University, 2012). This version of the Florida Sea Level Scenario Sketch Planning Tool incorporates statewide and regional data, including sea level trend projections, a 5-meter horizontal resolution digital elevation model (DEM), inundation surfaces and statewide transportation layers, including the Roadway Characteristics Inventory, the Strategic Intermodal System, and the Unified Basemap Repository. In addition, the tool results were designed to be integrated into existing FDOT decision support systems such as the Efficient Transportation Decision Making process. The mechanism for the identification and delineation of potentially vulnerable infrastructure is spatial selection of infrastructure that intersects a given inundation layer. This means that any roadway segment or portion of a roadway segment that falls within the inundation layer will be identified as potentially vulnerable. It should also be noted that the 5-meter resolution of the statewide and regional DEMs limits the granularity of the analysis. This level of resolution does not provide local and site-specific features such as roadway and bridge elevations, gullies, ditches, dikes, levees and culverts. Also, the selection procedure and the small scale of analysis may in some cases overestimate the affected infrastructure. Applied at the appropriate scale, the errors discussed above, while potentially significant, do not diminish from the utility of the tool as a useful statewide and regional indicator of potentially vulnerable infrastructure under various sea level change scenarios.

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