Challenges and Opportunities for Integrating Climate Adaptation Efforts Across State, Regional and Local Transportation Agencies

The costs that climate and extreme weather disruptions are imposing on the transportation system are significant and rising. These disruptions – ranging from dust storms to landslides to floods – adversely impact the reliability of the transportation system. Increasingly, the burden of preparing for and recovering from extreme weather events is straining the resources of transportation agencies. There is a growing urgency to adapt the transportation infrastructure and institutional processes to be more resilient to these extremes. Adaptation actions can include:

1. hardening, relocating or even abandoning infrastructure assets; and

2. improving communications procedures and data collection, developing emergency response plans and changing maintenance schedules.

Currently, climate adaptation efforts are hindered by shortfalls in financial resources and technical expertise, the need for improved data to inform design, and insufficient integration of state and local planning efforts.

This policy brief summarizes findings from a study to assess the adequacy of current tools, efforts and vertical collaborations.