Targeted Investment for Critical Food Access in Rural New England

Targeted Investment for Critical Food Access in Rural New England

Food insecurity is a long-recognized global challenge, especially in the southern regions of Africa and Asia. In developed countries such as the United States, a continued increase in extreme weather events, increasingly related to climate change, has presented new challenges for food security. The U.S. is very auto-focused, and many people rely on private automobile usage – particularly in rural areas – to access food. Mountainous landscapes like those in northern New England feature relatively sparse rural road networks and are susceptible to roadway flooding in areas with more varied terrain (mountains, streams, rivers, lakes, and coastline). The New England region is forecasted to receive more frequent and severe snowfall and rainfall events in the latter half of this century, resulting in more disruptive events throughout the roadway network, putting vulnerable rural households even more at risk for food access. This project focuses on advancing methods for identifying specific roadway infrastructure components that are both most vulnerable to disruptive extreme weather events and are most critical with respect to accessing food. A better understanding of which components are most critical with respect to accessibility can help decision makers devise strategies that can help mitigate potential risks to vulnerable households and populations.

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