Project-Level Adaptation Strategies for Transportation

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The Project-Level Climate Adaptation Strategies for Transportation in the SACOG Region (2020) provides guidance for transportation practitioners to address climate change risk at the project-level. It offers recommendations to SACOG for advancing the resilience of the region’s transportation system.

The study examines risks facing individual transportation assets in greater detail and evaluates potential adaptation strategies. The purpose is to provide a spectrum of tested methods and approaches that may be useful for projects in the region. 

Each report section is described below: 

Executive Summary 

Federal and State Guidance - This section provides an outline of State and Federal policies and guidance that influence project-scale climate change adaptation strategies relevant to the Sacramento region, to better understand the requirements and recommendations that exist for integrating climate change risk into transportation project.  

This section additionally summarizes the Federal Highway Administration’s Adaptation Decision-Making Assessment Process (or ADAP), a framework for assessing climate change related risks to a transportation facility, which was applied in the project-level assessments conducted for this project. 

Representative Projects – This section explores the process for assessing the climate impacts and adaptation strategies for a selection of transportation projects representative of common project types in the region, including:  

  • Extreme Heat and Transit Stop  
  • Wildfire Risk and the US Highway 50 Corridor 
  • Delta Sea Level Rise and Bridge Equipment Protection 
  • Extreme Heat and Pavement 
  • Riverine Flooding and Bridge Retrofit/Replacement 

Using FHWA’s Adaptation Decision-Making Assessment Process (ADAP) framework, these representative project examinations incorporate future climate scenarios, evaluation of different adaptation options, varying degrees of economic analysis, and a set of recommendations for each project. These representative projects provide examples for SACOG and its member agencies which can be used to guide similar assessments in the future.  

In addition to the representative projects section, which summarizes key findings from each assessment, each of the representative projects has a full assessment report which walks through the evaluation process for each step of the ADAP process.  

Economic Analysis for Project-Level Adaptation Planning - This section focuses on the cost-benefit analyses and other economic comparison tools to evaluate adaptation strategies, including a high-level methodology for lifecycle cost analysis catered to climate resiliency planning. These tools were applied in the Riverine Flooding and Bridge Retrofit/Replacement representative project assessment, which demonstrated cost-benefit analyses to determine which adaptation methods are most beneficial economically and fiscally and explored how existing designs and capital improvement projects can be altered to incorporate climate resiliency strategies. 

Implementation - This section describes how future efforts can use this Project-Level Guidance to inform studies and projects like the representative projects analyzed. This section highlights the recommendations for ADAP implementation by common transportation asset type and climate stressor combinations that may pose a risk in the Sacramento region, providing guidance on how to walk through each type of assessment, the types of data/information that needs to be collected and considered, and any major considerations from an adaptation planning perspective for the asset/stressor combination. 

Recommendations for Incorporating Guidance into Activities - This final section identifies a handful potential approaches for how SACOG could incorporate the adaptation strategies and resiliency guidance explored in this project into future program areas and activities.