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This section of FHWA's Climate Change Adaptation website provides resources, tools, and guidance to help local and regional transportation agencies implement the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA's) Climate Change and Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment Framework, a guide to assessing the vulnerability of transportation assets to climate change and extreme weather events. This short video provides an overview of FHWA's Climate Change and Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment Framework, and describes the benefits of conducting a vulnerability assessment.
CREAT is a software tool to assist drinking water and wastewater utility owners and operators in understanding potential climate change threats and in assessing the related risks at their individual utilities. This workshop focused on addressing impacts of climate change on public transit systems in the United States. This vulnerability assessment was conducted by the Saco Bay Sea Level Adaptation Working Group (SLAWG), and assessed the vulnerability of Saco Bay communities to sea-level rise (SLR), flooding and erosion. In 2011, the City of Lewes, Delaware undertook a pilot project to develop a unified Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Action Plan, which considers the Citya€™s vulnerability to climate change, particularly sea-level rise, and includes an evaluation of the vulnerability of roads and critical evacuation routes. This plan identifies the infrastructure and resources most vulnerable to climate change impacts, including critical transportation infrastructure.
Science and knowledge are critically important to enable society to understand and respond to threats posed by climate change.
UNEP has a legacy of facilitating credible impact assessments based on the drivers-pressures-state-impact-responses (DPSIR) framework used for the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) series. In 2010, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) selected five pilot teams from across the country to test a climate change vulnerability assessment model.
The Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization (OahuMPO) coordinates transportation planning for the island of Oahu. OahuMPO coordinates closely with Departments from the City and County of Honolulu and the State of Hawaii to meet the transportation planning needs for the entire island of Oahu.
Assess the vulnerability of vital transportation assets to climate change and evaluate the socioeconomic consequences of asset failure.
In March of 2011, OahuMPO invited over 60 planning, engineering, and management professionals and students from the City and County of Honolulu, the State of Hawaii, FHWA, the University of Hawaii, private industry, and other Pacific Island nations to participate in a climate change vulnerability assessment workshop. The project team used Geographic Information System (GIS) to map critical transportation infrastructure and associated access routes in each asset area (see Figure 1 for example). The study assigned an integrated risk score to each of the five asset groups by combining the individual scores for vulnerability, impact, and consequence to society. Honolulu Harbor is the largest and busiest harbor in the state of Hawaii and handles approximately 90 percent of goods shipped into the state.
The Honolulu International Airport complex handles nearly 19 million passengers annually and is vital for the state's tourist economy. Farrington Highway on the Waianae Coast is the only access route for the communities on the leeward Waianae Coast. Assess Vulnerability (highlighted as current page) has six rounded bubbles connected by a line indicating a connected, circular process. Search: Subscribe for updatesRegister to receive email news alerts, daily digest, weekly roundup or Topic newsletters.
III: ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE IN SCOTLANDThe severity of impacts felt in Scotland, such as increases in temperature, is determined by global climate change. This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. We use cookies to record some preference settings and to analyse how visitors use our web site.
In 2011, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) selected seven pilot teams from across the country to conduct climate change adaptation assessments. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is the state-chartered Regional Transportation Planning Agency (RTPA) and public transportation agency for Los Angeles County (California). Metro has already conducted several studies related to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Identify pathways for integrating adaptation options into the agency's planning and programming, construction, operations, and procurement activities. Create replicable processes and share their outcomes with other transit agencies, their Board, and the general public.
The methodology used in the EMS to identify and prioritize environmental impacts provides a process that can be modified to address risk to assets from severe weather and climate change. The process for setting improvement objectives can include improvements to harden assets to climate risks. Operational changes to protect assets can be integrated into procedures, inspections, training, and emergency planning. The effectiveness of adaptation efforts can be tracked and evaluated using the existing processes. Metro evaluated approaches for incorporating climate risk into their asset management systems, including the Environmental Information Management System (EIMS) and the Maintenance and Materials Management (M3) System.
The project team undertook a case study on the Red Line Yard to demonstrate the use of the guidelines. Metro worked alongside the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute (UEPI) at Occidental College to determine key metrics that the agency could use to track its progress in implementing adaptation strategies.
Metro then developed criteria to help narrow down the 109 initial metrics to a more manageable number. Metro developed a Climate Adaptation Messaging Strategy to inform outreach materials and ensure that they are using relevant messaging techniques.
Metro hosted two events (a roundtable and a webinar) for transit agencies and industry professionals to begin exchanging information and strategies for climate adaptation. Metro demonstrated how a transit operator can integrate climate change adaptation considerations into their EMS and their asset management system.
Does the agency have overheating standards for public transport facilities and rolling stock?
Capacity to monitor weather and temperature conditions in real time at key locations in service area.
Metro will also continue outreach to the community through short video segments on environmental topics, which will be played at all Metro monitors in rail and bus station platforms. Click on any area of the graphic to go to its corresponding module in the Virtual Framework site, or use the page list in the navigation bar at left to navigate through the modules. CREAT provides users with access to the most recent national assessment of climate change impacts for use in considering how these changes will impact utility operations and missions. Sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration, in collaboration with the American Public Transportation Association.
Decision makers need sound information on vulnerabilities to climate change grounded in the best science available. It has developed different vulnerability and impact assessment (VIA) methodologies suitable for different purposes, including climate change VIA assessment at the national and municipal levels. This conceptual model guided transportation agencies through the process of collecting and integrating climate and asset data in order to identify critical vulnerabilities.
A key priority of the MPO is ensuring the resilience of this remote Hawaiian island's roads, airports, and harbors to existing and anticipated climate changes.


The pilot focused on five critically important asset groups on Oahu, including the Honolulu Harbor Area and the Honolulu International Airport. Local climate scientists presented information on observed and projected climate change impacts. Prior to the workshop in March 2011, OahuMPO consulted climate scientists from the University of Hawaii and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to develop a baseline understanding of the current climate change impacts affecting the Pacific islands.
The project team held a two-day workshop to develop a short list of critical transportation assets that were likely to be vulnerable to climate impacts. In preparation for the risk assessment, the project team gathered historical climate information from 1970‐2007 and projections for 2050 and 2100 at the local and regional levels. In order to assess the risk that climate change poses to each of the five selected assets, the project team held two work group sessions. In the second working group session, participants examined the social and economic consequences of asset disruption or failure. The team used a three-tier ranking system to classify asset risk for the two planning horizons years of 2050 and 2100 (see Figure 2).
There was no simple formula for aggregating the individual scores into the final risk score. The study identified Honolulu Harbor, Honolulu International Airport, and Farrington Highway on the Waianae Coast as the three transportation asset groups with the highest integrated risk due to climate change. The remoteness of the Hawaiian Island chain and its dependency on the shipment of goods and fuels from elsewhere makes it critical that the harbor is fully functioning. If any part of this highway became impassable, entire communities or even the entire Waianae Coast could be shut off from supplies.
The project team efficiently assessed risk by drawing on the existing knowledge of an interdisciplinary group of planners, engineers, and managers. The project team evaluated integrated risk based on a combination of vulnerability, impact to infrastructure, and importance to society, but the weight of each factor varied by asset.
For example, the project team considered the impacts of climate change on vulnerable populations. The pilot project recommended a more detailed risk assessment to guide transportation planners in developing the LRTP.
In 2012, the Hawaii Legislature passed Act 283, Climate Change Adaptation Priority Guidelines, which requires all county and state actions to consider climate change in their land use, capital improvement, and program decisions, including the LRTP.
Further changes in climate can only be limited (mitigated) by a global reduction in greenhouse gases.
The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe's environment.
The pilot projects were intended to advance the state of practice for adapting transit systems to the impacts of climate change.
Metro serves as the transportation planner and coordinator, designer, builder, and operator for Los Angeles County.
Environmental Protection Agency) is a framework tool that helps an agency address its regulatory environmental requirements in a systematic and cost-effective manner by allowing users to set environmental targets and reminding them of the steps that must be taken during each phase of a project to ensure environmental compliance. Metro personnel undertook the sample analysis at a workshop, evaluating the assets for criticality and vulnerability to precipitation, heat, and wind. These time frames support both shorter-term operations needs and longer-term capital planning requirements. The team derived metrics from the literature and through surveys and discussions with Metro frontline maintenance and operations staff and employees.
Using a qualitative scale, the project team rated each metric against the following criteria: Criticality, Severity, Equity, Feasibility, Cost, Best Practice, Climate, Visibility, Participation and Governance, Design, and Mitigation. The messaging strategy identifies relevant climate adaptation messages for different audiences, including: Metro Board of Directors, elected officials, and service area residents, as well as transit-dependent riders and discretionary riders. Additionally, Metro developed a video to highlight some of the agency's key environmental initiatives that are helping to prepare Los Angeles for the impacts of climate change. Most elements of the EMS only require minor modifications to integrate climate change adaptation considerations. Longer video segments will be played in locations such as TransitTV (TV monitors watched by bus riders) and Metro-purchased time slots. The team found it was more effective to discuss discrete severe-weather events (such as high winds, high heat, and heavy rain) and the possible increase in frequency of these events with bus and rail maintenance division staff (rather than focusing on discussing the impacts of climate change).
Addressing asset breakdowns has led to an understanding of extreme weather impacts and a collection of best practices for responding. Metro will continue to track its climate adaptation performance through the agency-wide rollout of the EMS and closely track how the EMS changes to include more and more climate-related elements. Metro has completed a second and more detailed asset vulnerability assessment to inform 1) the specific vulnerabilities in the fixed assets of their existing system, and 2) the planning, design, construction, and operation of new rail lines. Metro has ongoing work to further examine the issues associated with transit user's mobility by investigating climate impacts on low-income, disadvantaged, and particularly vulnerable transit-dependent populations. Each module includes an overview, a summary of key steps, an introductory video, and links to case studies, tools, and other resources.
Equally important is sound information on the potential social and economic impacts of climate change, particular on more vulnerable groups like the extreme poor. During this year-long pilot program, the pilot teams formed a community of practice, exchanged ideas, presented draft results, and participated in a series of webinars and peer exchanges.
As one of the 2010-11 pilots, OahuMPO facilitated a workshop designed to identify and prioritize transportation assets that may be vulnerable to climate impacts. Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners informed the discussions on the social and cultural impacts of climate change.
These discussions identified the key climate impacts of concern to be sea level rise and shoreline erosion, changes in rainfall patterns, increases in storm surge intensity, and changes in cloud formation. During the workshop, participants identified and prioritized vulnerable asset groups through an iterative process that relied heavily on local knowledge. The climate hazards of interest were sea level rise, storm surge, strong winds, intense rainfall, and extreme temperatures.
Since the project did not have the resources to conduct a quantitative analysis of costs and benefits, it considered qualitative factors such as level and type of use, degree of redundancy, cost to replace, and cultural value. For example, both the vulnerability and impact rankings for Honolulu Harbor in the year 2050 are low, but the potential consequence of failure is devastating. Overall, the project team found that warmer temperatures and increased wind speeds will not pose a large risk to transportation assets. The project team found that by the end of the century, the harbor's low-lying areas are likely to flood due to sea level rise.
The project team found that a Category 4 hurricane would likely flood portions of an airport facility with nearly 10 feet of water, block access roads to the airport, and completely flood the Reef Runway. In the event of a Category 4 hurricane, nearby evacuation shelters would likely also be flooded. The workshop at the project start allowed the project team to identify critical sites without inventorying all of OahuMPO's assets.


For example, a high risk asset may have a low risk of climate vulnerability and impact to its infrastructure, but the climate impacts could result in large consequences on society. A significant portion of the residents along the Waianae Coast are either over 65 or under 18, and many residents live at or below the poverty line. This Act paves the way for including a more detailed assessment of climate change in the next LRTP. Research presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( IPCC) indicates that global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak by 2015 and reduce to between 50% and 85% below year 2000 levels, by 2050, in order to limit global warming to around 2 OC above pre-industrial levels. The selected projects assessed the vulnerability of transit agency assets and services to climate change hazards such as heat waves and flooding and developed initial adaptation strategies that fit with their transit agency's structure and operations. Metro used their existing Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP), Environmental Management System (EMS), and asset management system tools to integrate climate adaptation principles into ongoing conversations and to implement best management practices in the areas of its operations and maintenance. M3 supports asset management, inventory, and warehouse management, as well as bus, rail, and facilities maintenance; it is integrated with Metro's purchasing and financial systems to create a seamless environment and eliminate duplication of data. Additionally, the results of the prioritization of vulnerable assets can be included in Metro's M3 system with minor modifications. This information (including historic cost data) can facilitate a more systematic approach to planning and executing strategies to reduce the risk to Metro's existing and expanding system. Through Metro's video outreach, the public will have an opportunity to better understand how their ridership helps to reduce their impact on the environment, and how Metro is working to provide a resilient and reliable system for its riders for decades to come. Since the EMS is a self-perpetuating management procedure, Metro anticipates learning from what new climate management ideas emerge moving forward.
Several of the modules include tools developed by FHWA to help transportation agencies implement their assessments.
They aim to support development of effective and costed adaptation options, and to create more clarity on the choices available to decision makers based on sound science and knowledge. FHWA used the feedback and lessons learned from the pilot projects to revise the draft conceptual model into the Climate Change & Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment Framework. The study focused on five high-priority sites with existing vulnerability to extreme weather and climate variability. Prior to the workshop, the project team distributed a short pre-workshop preparation handout that asked participants to consider the impacts of climate change on transportation assets. OahuMPO also consulted with lead planners and engineers to gather knowledge on Oahu's highways, harbors, and airports. A series of facilitated discussions helped participants evaluate the economic and social consequences of asset failure to due climate change. The project team then evaluated the likelihood of future climate changes and the magnitude of future climate changes. The climate impacts of greatest concern are sea level rise, storm surge, and intense rainfall. In addition, including experts from multiple disciplines in the process allowed the team to access specialty datasets quickly.
Resilient transportation assets such as roads designated for evacuation are critical for the population, but will be threatened by sea level rise and storm surge.
The pilot project effort is part of FTA's climate adaptation initiative, which also includes an adaptation report, workshops, and webinars. The project developed a comprehensive set of metrics to gauge past progress and identify new targets to guide the direction of future climate adaptation work. The scientific and assessment activities lay the foundation for UNEP’s policy support and capacity building work. For both storm surge and sea level rise, the team developed LiDAR‐based inundation maps to illustrate the anticipated flooding due to sea level rise and storm surge.
This must address risks identified for Scotland in progressive UK Climate Change Risk Assessments.Scottish Ministers are required to report annually on progress towards their programme to adapt to climate change. The project sought to inform Metro staff, Board members, other transit operators, and the public how they can help adapt to climate change. New houses, for example, have a designed life of 60 years, and will most likely last longer. The complex network of infrastructure, which is full of inter-dependencies, would present huge difficulty to disentangle and relocate.
Planners need to factor the changing climate into their plans now.In some instances, unco-ordinated adaptation by a number of individuals may accumulate to give adverse outcomes, such as the effect of increasing flood risk as a result of many small flood defence measures.
If each property independently protects itself from a threatening riverbank, the effect may simply heighten the risk to those living down stream. Providing a degree of strategic co-ordination in such situations will limit adverse outcomes and potentially improve the effectiveness of individual actions to adapt.We will choose more sustainable planning, design or investment options where the risks and opportunities associated with changes in our climate have been properly assessed and understood. Investment into actions to adapt should be pursued where costs are determined to be less than the likely future losses caused by climate change. Costs reflect more than just monetary considerations, but also the social, environmental, historical or cultural value held by those involved and affected by the decision. For this reason, adaptation decisions are often best taken at a local scale, supported by a co-ordinated national adaptation strategy.Managing for uncertaintyScotland has world-leading climate modelling, 7 presenting probabilistic climate projections over the coming century. These projections incorporate scientists' latest understanding of how the climate system operates and how it might change in the future.
However, even with the latest advances in climate projections, we cannot be entirely certain about Scotland's future climate. The weather from year to year is determined both by the long-term trend of climate change and the short-term natural variability. This means that not all future summers will be hot and dry, nor all winters warm and wet even though this is the general trend expected in future.This uncertainty should not act as a barrier to adaptation.
The intrinsic uncertainty in climate projections is no greater than in other common projections which form the basis of decision making, such as demographic change.
Furthermore, as the next 30 to 40 years of climate change are determined by the current levels of emissions in the system, climate projections over this period are highly likely. As is the case with all future uncertainties, choosing options that will stand up in the face of a number of likely future scenarios will make planning more resilient.Funding adaptationClimate change adaptation will come at a cost. Ensuring that Scotland understands the risks and opportunities presented by a changing climate and is adapting sustainably will require continued investment from government, the public and private sectors. Where restructuring becomes necessary, it is an opportunity to plan for a future in which the climate is not the same as it has been in the past - a future which will not only have a different climate but also a low carbon economy. The key is to be alert to the impacts of climate change and see opportunities to adapt as and when they arise. Designing for climate change at the outset is more cost effective and sustainable than retro-fitting for climate change.



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