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Climate Change - Adapting and Preparing

Resilient Transportation Systems

WSDOT’s maintenance crews work hard to keep up with extreme storms and damage they cause. Understanding future climate threats is essential for a safe and sustainable transportation system. 
   
WSDOT Climate Change Pilot Projects

WSDOT has completed two FHWA climate change pilot projects:

In the first pilot, WSDOT tested FHWA’s conceptual risk assessment model and successfully completed a statewide assessment of climate vulnerability of state-owned transportation assets. GIS layers showing the results of the statewide vulnerability assessment are available on the Community Planning Portal.
http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/planning/community/WSDOTCommunityPlanningPortal.htm

The second pilot project applied FHWA’s framework for adaptation planning and decision making. Our team created a process that will help transportation planners better connect information across sectors (in this case hydraulic data) and coordinate long-term solutions to extreme events.

NEPA/SEPA Guidance for project teams

WSDOT uses climate science and tools to estimate greenhouse gas emissions when planning and designing major projects.

Our work supports Results WSDOT’s Environmental Stewardship Goal to Improve environmental conditions; leave it better than before. WSDOT plans and those major capital projects will document how climate change and extreme weather vulnerability are considered, and propose ways to improve resilience.

Collapsed culvert on SR 4 west of Naselle due to extreme rains earlier this year.

Partnering with others

WSDOT’s work is supported by state and federal policy directives.

Department of Ecology maintains up-to-date links to state climate change information resources.
http://www.ecy.wa.gov/climatechange/index.htm

Washington State is one of a handful of state’s that have completed state action plans tracked by Georgetown Climate Center see - Preparing for a Changing Climate: Washington State’s Integrated Climate Response Strategy. The state’s action plan, “Preparing for a Changing Climate: Washington State’s Integrated Climate Change Response Strategy,” was prepared by Ecology in collaboration with the state departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Fish and Wildlife, Health, Natural Resources, and Transportation. The state agencies drew on the policy, management and scientific expertise of a broad range of stakeholders to develop the recommendations that are the basis of the report.

Drilled shaft bridges like this one on I-90 near Gold Creek make those structures more resistant to high-velocity flooding.

USDOT links

U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Highways and Climate Change
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/climate_change/

Provides FHWA research on climate change issues. FHWA is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

U.S. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Climate Change
http://www.fta.dot.gov/13835_12125.html

Find FTA-related research on transit and climate change, tools for measuring and reducing carbon footprints, and reports on transit-related climate change adaptation actions.

AASHTO, the national association representing highway and transportation departments, provides technical assistance to assist its members in meeting the challenges that arise related to climate change, energy efficiency, energy security, infrastructure adaptation, alternative vehicles and fuels, and other relevant topics.
http://climatechange.transportation.org/