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Gulf Coast Climate Change Adaptation Pilot Study
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  • Abstract:
    Climate change-related issues place substantial operating and financial burdens on public transit agencies, particularly in coastal settings. Gulf of Mexico coastal transit agencies and their constituents are especially vulnerable to natural hazards resulting from extreme heat, flooding, and high winds. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has billions of dollars in assets across the U.S., many of which are threatened by the adverse impacts of climate change. Reducing the impacts of weather events and long-term climate change is a key goal for Gulf Coast transit agencies as well as FTA. The study was one of seven climate change adaptation pilot studies. The purpose of the Gulf Coast study was two-fold: to provide benefit to three specific project member transit agencies and to compile practical information for all Gulf Coast transit agencies. While a great deal has been written about the expected impacts of climate change, little work has focused specifically on the implications for transit agencies operating along the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf Coast pilot study report addresses the information and strategy gap by providing the following: background information about climate change, description of climate impacts along the Gulf Coast, a survey of agencies about past severity of various weather events, a conceptual framework for planning and adapting to climate change, vulnerability matrix planning tools, three case study examples of previous/ongoing adaptation strategies, and a detailed methodology using GIS spatial data to assess climate change vulnerability of transit assets. As Gulf Coast transit agencies continue to plan for emergency weather events such as hurricanes and begin to proactively plan for the long-term effects of climate change, they will reduce risk and improve safety. Using the information in this report as a baseline guide, Gulf Coast transit agencies can renew and improve planning for the impacts of finite weather events and long-term climate change, thus increasing agency staff capabilities, protecting valuable assets, and improving rider safety.

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