Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Adaptation To Climate Change in Transportation Operations and Maintenance - Technical Staff Briefing

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Adaptation To Climate Change in Transportation Operations and Maintenance

Technical Staff Briefing

United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration

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Iconic representation of a roadway running through different geographic areas and with different users accessing it.

speaker notes

Today I am going to speak to you about adaptation to climate change in transportation systems management, operations, and maintenance

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  • Climate change and extreme weather events
  • Impacts of climate change on transportation systems management and operations (TSMO) and maintenance
  • Why adapt to climate change?
  • What does adaptation look like?
  • Managing the business risk (an adaptation framework)
  • Resources

speaker notes

The FHWA Office of Operations released a guide in November 2015 focusing on this topic. Drawing from this guide, I will review:

  • Recent and projected trends in extreme weather events and climate change
  • How those changes could affect TSMO and maintenance
  • Why it is necessary to adapt to those changes
  • What adaptation looks like
  • A framework for managing the business risks posed by climate change, and
  • Resources available to help your agency adapt TSMO and maintenance programs to climate change

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A Changing Climate

  • DOTs are already observing and responding to the impacts of climate change
  • Accelerating climate change means more frequent or more intense weather events (e.g., large storms, changes in winter precipitation, heat waves)
  • These events will have critically important ramifications on the planning, design and engineering, management, operations, and maintenance of transportation facilities and services

speaker notes

  • Scientific consensus is unequivocal that our climate is changing
  • One way these changes manifest themselves is through more frequent and more intense weather events
    • For example, as average temperature increases, temperature extremes become more common
    • Or as climate changes, precipitation patterns become less predictable and more variable
  • Transportation agencies deal with extreme weather events all the time, and have systems in place—from design standards to emergency response plans—to deal with them
  • However, if these events become more frequent and/or severe, current practices may prove inadequate, so we need to update our design, management, operations, maintenance, and emergency management practices to be more resilient to a more uncertain future (weather-wise)

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A Changing Climate

Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe

Graph uses color coding to indicate the number of disaster events by type that exceeded $1 billion in damages between 1980 and 2014. The events peaked in 2011 with 16 events, but there has been a decline in the number of events each year since, with 2014 seeing 8 disaster events. Event types include winter storms, severe storms, flooding, tropical cyclones, wild fires, freezes, flooding and drought.

speaker notes

  • Recent trends in extreme weather events are becoming hard to miss
  • Here, you can see NOAA tracks the “billion-dollar” weather events over time, that is the number of events that have caused at least $1B in damages (adjusted for inflation)
  • The graph is clearly trending upward over time, with a spike in the number of severe storms (green shading) over the past decade
  • It is important to note when looking at figures like these is that this isn’t showing exclusively that weather events are getting more severe—but that their impacts are getting more severe, which is a function of both the severity/frequency of the weather event, but also the density and value of infrastructure over time. As development increases, there is an increased chance that there will be higher costs of storm events in later years.

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Extreme Events in 2014

Two photos, the first of a flooded rural interstate (Source: The Daily Record) and the other a flooded underpass on an arterial roadway (Source:

Anne Arundel County in Maryland received more than 10 inches of rain on August 12, 2014, washing out roadways

speaker notes

  • Chances are your agency has experienced a few extreme events in recent years
  • They are happening and have real impacts on our transportation system
  • Here we can see pictures of severe flooding in Maryland from the summer of 2014 – a heavy rain storm flooded and washed out several roadways in Anne Arundel County

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Extreme Events in 2014

Phoenix, Arizona, broke 24-hour rainfall records with nearly 3 inches of rain on September 8, 2014, causing widespread flooding that closed Interstate highways

Two side-by-side photos, the first an aerial photo of a flooded neighborhood, the second of a teenage boy trying to ride his bicycle through flood waters that reach halfway up his tires. Source: azcentral

speaker notes

Floods are also happening in the Southwest – less than a month later, Phoenix experienced record rainfalls (3 inches – which goes to show that “extreme” is a relative term) that caused widespread flooding and closed several major roads and interstates

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Extreme Events in 2014

Buffalo, New York, received over 7 feet of snow over three days, stranding drivers in their cars

Two side-by-side photos, one of a person standing on snow that is so deep he has to lean down to shovel out his car (Source: The Telegraph). The second photo is of an overturned vehicle with a snow plow attached to the front end that is covered with snow on a rural roadway (Source: NECN).

speaker notes

  • Extreme weather is not limited to flooding
  • Winter storms are also continuing to be destructive – just this past winter, Buffalo was buried under several feet of snow, putting obvious strain on the transportation system

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Extreme Events in 2014

California experienced a severe drought and thousands more wildfires than usual

Two side-by-side photos, one of firemen on a road facing an out of control wildfire (Source: Fox News), and the other depicting a burnt out home and car (Source: Daily News).

speaker notes

Wildfires are yet another type of extreme weather event – drought and heat in California are leading to an increasing number of wildfires, which also can strain transportation agencies

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Weather, Extreme Weather Events, and Climate Change

Weather refers to the state of the atmosphere in a particular location at a particular time

Extreme weather events refer to significant anomalies in temperature, precipitation and winds (e.g., heavy precipitation and flooding, heatwaves, drought, wildfires and windstorms (including tornadoes and tropical storms))

Climate refers to the weather conditions prevailing in an area over a long period of time (30 years or more)

Climate change includes major variations in temperature, precipitation, or wind patterns, among other environmental conditions, that occur over several decades or longer (e.g., a rise in sea level, increase in the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events now and in the future)

speaker notes

  • It is useful to pause here to note the distinction between weather and climate
  • Weather refers to discrete events, while climate refers to general conditions over a longer period of time, usually about 30 years
  • Climate determines the types of weather events that are likely to occur in a given location
  • It is very difficult to look at any one specific extreme weather event and determine whether it was caused by “climate change”, but as climate shifts, it follows that weather events will change as well

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Climate Change Is Widening and Shifting Weather Probability Distributions

Chart contains a curve that depicts the temperature element of a hypothetical climate where something happens to change the climate. This widens the probability distribution for extremes and the mean shifts to the right (it gets generally hotter, on average). The effect of this change on weather is a minimal change in cold extremes, but a substantial increase in hot extremes.
Source: Huber, Daniel G. and Gulledge, Jay. 2011. “Extreme Weather and Climate Change: Understanding the Link and Managing the Risk” Science and Impacts Program. Center for Climate and Energy Solutions: Arlington, VA. Available at:

speaker notes

  • This chart shows a general example of how that works – of how shifts in climate can lead to shifts in weather
  • This curve shows a hypothetical climate—just the temperature element--where something happens to change the climate to widen the probability distribution for extremes and the mean shifts to the right (it gets generally hotter, on average).
  • The effect of this change on weather, is a minimal change in cold extremes, but a substantial increase in hot extremes.

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Rare Weather Events Could Become Increasingly Frequent

Map of the United States highlights the locations and types of anomalous weather events that occurred during the spring and May 2015.

speaker notes

  • Again, we are seeing this general effect play out across the country, as weather and climate records are being broken regularly
  • For example, the Southeast had its warmest spring on record, the Southwest had record wetness for spring, etc.
  • [if one of your states is highlighted on the map, discuss how the significant climate anomalies affected the work of the DOT]

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The Past Is No Longer a Reliable Predictor of the Future

Historical climate ≠ Future climate

  • Because of climate change, historical climate is no longer a predictor of future climate
  • Assumptions based on historical climate may need to be revisited
    • Expected timing of freeze/thaw, snow melt, vegetation growth
    • Rates of weather-related degradation
    • Weather conditions over asset lifetime
    • Optimal construction work times

speaker notes

  • The bottom line on climate change is that for a long time, we were able to rely on what we knew about past climate in order to predict future climate. That paradigm no longer holds, and the past is no longer a reliable predictor of the future.
  • DOTs make many assumptions based on historical climate, such as those listed on the slide, and it is those types of assumptions that may need to be revisited in light of potential changes. For example,
    • DOTs currently make maintenance plans around expected vegetation/mowing cycles, freeze/thaw cycles, etc., which may shift
    • Engineers also make assumptions about the expected lifetime of materials given the temperatures they are expected to experience, which may also change

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Changes will be Needed In:

Diagram indicates changes will be needed in: system maintenance (e.g., inspection, frequency of repairs, need for “quick maintenance” patrols), system operations practices and strategies (e.g., more frequent diversion to more robust alternate routes), sravel behavior (e.g., motivation to use alternate modes of transport such as transit, biking, or walking), and freight transportation (e.g., dynamic or seasonal restrictions for trucks or rail during times of high heat).
Source: FHWA, 2013, “Planning for Systems Management & Operations as part of Climate Change Adaptation,” available at:

speaker notes

  • DOTs will need to consider changes in:
    • Maintenance practices - e.g., inspections, timing
    • Operations practices
    • Travel behavior – reducing congestion and other demands on the roadway system will make it easier to respond to stresses (weather-related and otherwise)
    • Freight transportation – e.g., weight restrictions based on freeze/thaw or speed/weight restrictions on rail based on high temperatures

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Climate Change Effects on TSMO and Maintenance

  • Climate changes could result in:
    • Reduced roadway capacity
    • Loss of alternative routes
    • Decreased situational awareness (due to power/ communications outages)
    • Inability to evacuate
    • Shortened service life (due to faster deterioration)
    • Increased safety risk
    • Loss of economic productivity
    • Reduced mobility
Maintenance crews use bucket loaders and dump trucks to clear a landslide that blocks a roadway.
Landslide from heavy rain in August 2013. Source: TNDOT

speaker notes

  • Potential changes in climate – changes in the predictability of weather events – can affect DOTs in many ways – many more than are listed here
  • In order to maintain the agency’s mission, it will be necessary to train staff to consider and prepare for climate change in their day-to-day activities

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Why Address Climate Change?

  • Climate change presents a business risk for transportation agencies
    • Not addressing climate change could put transportation agencies at greater risk than changing practices now
  • TSMO is the public face of extreme weather response
  • Even though many agencies are successful operators and maintainers of facilities, they still need to revisit their approach and practices given these changes

speaker notes

  • Projected climate changes pose a business risk for transportation agencies – they could cause unexpected costs, delays, declines in reliability, etc.
  • TSMO and maintenance practices are among the more flexible and responsive at a DOT, so you may wonder why it is necessary to do anything now, and why it might not be better to wait and see
    • In many areas, “wait and see” may be the right approach, but there may be other areas where we should be changing practices now. It is important to consider now which approaches are needed for which concerns.
    • TSMO and maintenance workers as well as the DOT emergency responders with whom they coordinate are and will be the public face and the front-line of the response.
    • By not understanding the risk or not assessing the vulnerability of their operations, agencies could be caught off-guard by an unexpected event leading to significantly degraded capabilities when it is most needed.
  • Continuing to operate in a “business as usual” way creates a greater risk for DOTs than taking some thoughtful, proactive steps now.

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Staff May be Asking...

Over the last 20 years, we have gotten really good at managing winter storms. We will deal with whatever nature throws as us. Do I need to plan for climate change? My last few summers have resulted in a lot of delays in construction due to the heat. Should I change how I bid out my projects? Over the last 20 years, we’ve never had an ice storm, and I don’t typically budget for ice removal equipment. We got one last year. Should I invest? My maintenance budgets are typically insufficient, and I end up going over each year. How can I plan ahead and better use my limited resources? We worked well together during Hurricane Sandy, but there were still a lot of challenges. What will help us be better prepared?

speaker notes

  • This slide shows the types of questions that agency decision makers will have to consider and decide.
  • There are many other types of similar questions and areas for consideration, such as training and workforce capabilities.
  • The remainder of this presentation will give a taste for the types of answers—and approaches your agency can take to answer these types of questions.

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Getting Started: An Adaptation Framework

Resiliency framework depicts the steps for taking action to define the scope of adaptation efforts; assess vulnerabilities to inform the development of adaptation strategies; and integrate climate change into decision making.

speaker notes

  • The framework shown here provides an overview of how TSMO and maintenance groups can begin to take action through steps to:
    • define the scope of adaptation efforts;
    • assess vulnerabilities to inform the development of adaptation strategies;
    • and integrate climate change into decision making

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Define Scope

Articulate Program Goals and Operations Objectives

  • Define what must be achieved to ensure resilient operations
    • Include expected level of performance during adverse weather
  • Determine outcome-based operations objectives

Identify Key Climate Stressors

  • Which climate change stressors or extreme weather events are projected to occur locally?
  • Which climate change stressors or extreme weather events could affect TSMO and maintenance programs?

speaker notes

  • Before conducting a climate change vulnerability assessment and developing adaptation options, it is valuable to define the scope of the effort
  • First, define what must be achieved to ensure resilient operations.
    • Agencies should consider what levels of performance are expected during adverse weather.
  • Second, identify what types of climate change hazards are projected to impact your region and affect TSMO, maintenance, and emergency response programs. The guide provides a series of references to help you find this information.

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Define Scope: Identify Key Climate Variables

Two heat maps of the United States depicting temperature change in Farenheit under lower and higher emissions scenarios.
Projected Temperature Changes
Source: 3rd National Climate Assessment

Two heat maps of the United States depicting projected changes in precipitation under a rapid emissions reduction scenario and a continued emissions increase scenario.
Projected Change in Heavy Precipitation Events
Source: 3rd National Climate Assessment

speaker notes

  • These images show projected changes in temperature and heavy precipitation between now and the end of the century. The darker the color, the more severe the change from historic weather climate patterns.
  • In each image, the left map shows a low emissions scenario, which would require a significant decrease in emissions from current levels, and the right shows a higher emissions similar which is the path we are on without significant intervention.
  • Increases in extreme temperatures will change travel patterns, increase wildfire fuel, and potentially increase pavement rutting.
  • Increases in heavy precipitation may cause more winter snow storms and heavy rains which routinely disrupt traffic.
  • This broad-brush look at climate stressors that your system may be exposed to will help you define the number and type of climate hazards that you should be preparing for.

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Define Scope

Develop Information on Decisions Sensitive to Climate Change

Decisions are climate-sensitive if their continued effectiveness could be compromised by projected changes in climatic conditions (e.g., changes in temperature, precipitation, weather patterns, and the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events)

Climate-Sensitive Decision Areas Specific Decisions Description
1. Plan for future workforce needs. Determine the right level of workforce requirements and capabilities.  Operating agencies make a variety of workforce related decisions, including the number of staff required, their locations, and capabilities necessary to monitor, control, report and maintain the roadway system.
2. Plan for Operations and Maintenance investments. Determine criteria to prioritize operational resource investments (including capital improvements).  Resource investments may include new capital improvements for operations and maintenance. They may also include investments for annual maintenance.

speaker notes

The following list of questions can help agencies determine if a decision is climate sensitive:

  • Do climate variables have a direct effect on the decision outcomes? For example, will increases in precipitation overwhelm current maintenance practices?
  • Can climate variables affect the underlying assumptions upon which the decision is founded? For example, will changes in the climate, such as precipitation, affect traffic levels which in turn impact roadway operations and management?
  • Is climate likely to change during the time period governed by the decision? Consider long term, chronic changes in climate as well as the increased frequency of acute weather events.
    • What is the time horizon for planning and implementation?
    • How frequently is the decision made?
  • Is this a single decision moment or a multiple decision moment (i.e., is the decision made once and then executed or is there room for refinement and adjustment over the course of implementation/operations)? Includes:
    • Financial reversibility (i.e., does the practice represent a costs that cannot be recovered?)
    • Foreclosure of other options (i.e., by implementing this practice, are you limiting the availability of other practices in the future?).

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Assess Vulnerability

Document Existing Capabilities (both technical and institutional)

  • Document current capabilities across the six areas of the Capability Maturity Framework (CMF):
The six areas of the Capability maturity Framework: business processes, systems and technology, performance management, culture, organization and workforce, collaboration.

speaker notes

  • Assessing the vulnerability of your TSMO and maintenance programs to climate change can help you understand how you could be negatively or positively impacted by climate change. It is only with an understanding of the risks and vulnerabilities that one can develop adaptation and resiliency options. Vulnerability assessments traditionally consider:
    • The exposure of programs to climate hazards – what are the locally-projected changes in climate?
    • The sensitivity of programs to climate hazards – if exposed, to what degree would this impact travelers?
    • The adaptive capacity of the programs – to what degree can existing TSMO and maintenance practices alleviate the sensitivity?
  • It is important to take a look at current or baseline capabilities (assessing both technical as well as institutional capability to respond to climate and extreme weather) before seeking to determine improvements in those capabilities
  • Introduce the Capability Maturity Framework (CMF). The CMF is based on self-evaluation regarding the key process and institutional capabilities required from a transportation agency (or group of agencies) to achieve effective TSMO. It provides a useful organizing framework for assessing current capabilities.
  • Documenting current capabilities and identifying where those capabilities fall on the spectrum of ad-hoc implementation to planning for optimized practices will help an agency gain a better sense of how resilient they may already be to climate change and extreme weather events

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Assess Vulnerability

Collect and Integrate Data on Past Performance

Examples of vulnerabilities:

  • Loss of roadway capacity
  • Loss of alternative routes
  • Loss of situational awareness (due to power/ communication)
  • Inability to evacuate/shelter-in-place
  • Loss of service life (e.g., due to faster deterioration)
  • Increased safety risk
  • Loss of economic productivity
  • Reduced mobility

speaker notes

  • Information on past performance during extreme weather events can be a rich resource for identifying likely future vulnerabilities. It is very likely to help pinpoint vulnerable locations and help determine what TSMO, maintenance and emergency management decisions can be implemented.
  • If you are not already, continuously collecting this type data is very valuable. Even though, for the first few years, the data set may not be a robust resource, it will turn into one if collected for a long period of time.

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Assess Vulnerability

Develop Climate Inputs

  • Determine local projected changes
  • Utilize readily-available sources of information

Characterize Vulnerabilities and Risks

  • Conduct a qualitative or quantitative assessment, depending on output needs
Map of the State of Washington indicating levels of vulnerability on State routes, airports, ferries, and railways.
WSDOT2010-2011 FHWA Climate Resilience Pilot
Vulnerability Assessment Results.
Source: WSDOT

speaker notes

  • In addition to gathering information on past weather disruptions and identifying key TSMO and maintenance weather sensitivities, another important component of a climate change vulnerability assessment is collecting data, qualitative or quantitative, on how climate stressors are projected to change locally.
  • Focus efforts on identifying how specific weather thresholds identified as currently affecting TSMO and maintenance activities may change in the future.
  • Synthesize information on potential climate changes, past impacts, and known sensitivities to characterize possible impacts of climate change on TSMO and maintenance programs.
  • The guide will lead you through the various approaches to conducting this vulnerability and risk assessment. The process can be modified and tailored to fit your available resources, data, and time. Some possible approaches include:
    • Data-driven, desktop analysis
    • Workshop-based, stakeholder driven analysis
    • Combined (hybrid) approach

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Integrate into Decision Making

Identify Performance Measures

  • Integrate climate change adaptation and resiliency into existing performance measures
  • Adopt as stand-alone measures
  • Consider whether existing measures will be achievable with a changing climate
A group of staff attend a planning meeting.
Source: MnDOT

speaker notes

  • Performance measurement can help to measure qualitative and quantitative progress towards meeting the objectives of TSMO and maintenance programs.
  • DOTs should consider whether revisions to existing performance measures are necessary to accommodate climate change (e.g., establishing a tolerance level for disruption of service).
  • Adaptation strategies should be developed to help achieve the new or existing performance metrics.

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Integrate into Decision Making

Identify Potential Adaptation Measures

  • Consider a range of strategies
  • Consider phased strategies (near-term, medium-term, long-term)
  • Look for best practices in regions with experience, e.g.:
    • Southern states may look north for ice storm preparedness strategies

speaker notes

  • Adaptation strategies should be developed to address known vulnerabilities directly – either those already experienced or those identified through a vulnerability assessment.
  • By mapping the strategies to the vulnerabilities, there is a direct link from problem to solution.
  • The types of adaptation strategies available to TSMO and maintenance programs include:
    • Policy-based changes
    • Built infrastructure measures (such as flood walls)
    • Operational approaches to respond to extreme weather events
    • Adaptive management to monitor and respond to climate change over time

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Integrate into Decision Making

Vulnerability Response Implementing Department

Increased frequency of extreme events may require additional personnel to monitor, control, report, and respond to events

Changes in long-term climate trends may also change seasonal work requirements

Short-term: Train staff on climate change and how this may affect their roles and responsibilities

Medium-term: Increase availability of contract staff to assist during extreme events

Long-term: Hire additional staff to keep pace with increasing TSMO, maintenance, and emergency management needs

TSMO, Maintenance, Emergency Managers

speaker notes

  • This table includes some example adaptation strategies that were developed with the points made on the previous two slides in mind.
  • For example, the response contains phased strategies that vary over time, and the responses are developed to address specific vulnerabilities.

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Integrate into Decision Making

Evaluate and Select Adaptation Measures

  • Use relevant evaluation criteria from other agency projects and/or consider these:
    • Technical and political feasibility
    • Costs and benefits
    • Efficacy
    • Flexibility
    • Sustainability
  • Circulate results and accept revisions of priorities from staff and decision makers
A pair of pie charts provide a qualitative representation of the level of interagency coordination for specific vulnerable facilities.
MTC 2013-2015 FHWA Climate Resilience Pilot Results of Qualitative Assessment of Adaptation Strategies.
Source: MTC,
Climate Change and Extreme Weather Adaptation Options for Transportation Assets in the Bay Area Pilot Project

speaker notes

  • DOTs should evaluate their adaptation strategies to identify and account for the benefits and co-benefits of integrating specific adaptation strategies into TSMO programs.
  • Generally, co-benefits are assessed at a qualitative level in order to help identify “win-win” strategies that increase resiliency to climate change and help to achieve other program objectives.
  • Often, these win-win solutions are easier to gather support for funding (because they accomplish multiple goals).
  • For example, several DOTs have justified upsizing culverts by highlighting the benefits for fish passage in addition to the increased capacity provided for increases in extreme precipitation events.
  • While evaluation criteria can help to inform the selection and implementation of adaptation strategies, it should not be the final deciding factor on strategies to advance. Only the local staff can make the final selections since they have a greater breadth of knowledge on local priorities and the feasibility of action.

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Case Study: ALDOT

  • Alabama experiences hurricanes, tornados, wet and dry cycles, and snow and ice events
  • Pace and severity of weather events have increased in recent years, along with public expectations about levels of service
  • Post-event recovery affects ability to perform regular operations
  • Infrastructure damage disrupts regular operations
Sinkhole on 1-65 in Morgan County, AL
Source: Conner, G. 2013. ALDOT Operations and Extreme Weather Events. Presentation at AASHTO 2013 Extreme Weather Events Symposium, May 22, 2013.

speaker notes

  • [The speaker may wish to replace this case study with an example from his/her own state]
  • Alabama DOT is one example of how an agency is affected by extreme weather events.
  • George Conner of ALDOT spoke at a 2013 AASHTO symposium on extreme weather events and explained that Alabama experiences a wide range of weather events that appear to be becoming more frequent.
  • The weather event stresses are in conjunction with other stresses on the DOT, such as ever-increasing public expectations.
  • ALDOT's response to extreme weather events is diverting resources from regular operations and preventive maintenance.

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Case Study: ALDOT

  • Renewed emphasis on emergency management (EM)
    • Created full-time EM position
    • Improved relationship with state EM agency
    • Increased recurring emergency training
  • Focused on “smaller” solutions
    • Portable Highway Advisory Radios (HARs)
    • Coordination across and between divisions
    • Procuring less specialized equipment
  • Improved dissemination of road condition information in everyday and extreme events

Source: Conner, G. 2013. ALDOT Operations and Extreme Weather Events. Presentation at AASHTO 2013 Extreme Weather Events Symposium, May 22, 2013.

speaker notes

  • Some agencies, like ALDOT, are adapting operations to cope with existing extreme weather conditions – and doing so without conducting formal vulnerability assessments or focusing on climate change.
  • ALDOT has been bolstering their emergency management activities – creating a full-time EM position, improving intra-state coordination, and increasing recurring emergency management training at all levels.
  • ALDOT also focused on specific smaller, achievable solutions such as:
    • Procuring less specialized equipment – because Alabama’s weather events are increasingly varied, ALDOT began purchasing equipment that can be used in a range of event types – for example, instead of purchasing snow plows, they purchased vehicles that can be used to clear snow, tree branches, and several types of debris from roadways

slide 30

Integrate into Decision Making

Improvements in Capabilities Necessary for Implementation

  • Successful implementation of adaptation measures may require more overarching enhancements to the agency’s capabilities
Adaptation Strategies CMF Category Maintenance
Business Processes Systems & Technologies Performance Management Culture Organization & Workforce Collaboration
Develop climate resilient design guidelines X X X X X
Track weather-related trends and costs over time X X X
Establish standy-by contracts for extreme event response X X
Consider the life-cycle costs of resiliency investments and savings in budgeting and design X

speaker notes

This guide aligns actions needed to adapt TSMO and maintenance programs to climate change to the six areas of the CMF:

  • Business processes – including financials (e.g., budgeting) as well as conducting risk analyses and dealing with uncertainty, planning, programming, and standard operating/implementation procedures;
  • Systems and technology – Transportation agencies have invested in a wide suite of technology and management systems to enable them to more efficiently manage weather events within their jurisdiction;
  • Performance measurement – includes measures definition, data acquisition, analysis, and utilization;
  • Culture – including technical understanding, leadership, commitment, outreach, and program authority;
  • Organization and workforce – including organizational structure, staff capacity, development, and retention; and
  • Collaboration – including internal collaboration and relationships with other public agencies and the private sector.

slide 31

Monitor and Revisit

Monitoring and evaluation helps keep adaptation efforts on track as:

  • New information on climate risks emerges
  • Evidence of the effectiveness of adaptation strategies becomes available
  • Other programmatic changes occur

Key steps include:

  • Establish a monitoring and evaluation plan
  • Engage stakeholders
  • Monitor and collect data on relevant indicators
  • Evaluate the project and its outcomes
  • Revisit

speaker notes

  • Generally, TSMO and maintenance programs are flexible (much more so than infrastructure planning and design decisions) and can evolve as conditions change.
  • Monitoring and evaluation helps keep adaptation efforts on track as new information on climate risks emerges, evidence of the effectiveness of adaptation strategies becomes available, or other programmatic changes occur.
  • Monitoring trends in extreme weather events (such as frequency of particular events as well as impacts on TSMO and maintenance) and evaluating the effectiveness of actions will help to continually inform decision making

slide 32


Cover of the Climate Change Adaptation Guide for Transportation Systems Management, Operations and Maintenance: A Primer

speaker notes

FHWA's new guide, Climate Change Adaptation Guide for Transportation Systems Management, Operations and Maintenancer provides much more information on this topic, including:

  • More example actions of how DOTs can increase their resilience to climate change,
  • Resources to help DOTs get started
  • Case studies and examples from the field of how other agencies are adapting
  • Links to other resources

slide 33

What’s in the Guide?

  • How to obtain buy-in
  • Risk assessment checklists and guidance
  • Climate change focused performance measures
  • How to track progress over time
  • Existing benefit-cost assessment tools
  • Matrix of climate sensitive decisions
  • Sample handout for workshop on climate risk
  • Gap assessment for climate ready TSMO and maintenance
  • Glossary of terms
Screenshot of an excerpted page from the Climate Change Adaptation Guide for Transportation Systems Management, Operations and Maintenance.

speaker notes

  • Throughout the guide, you will find a suite of easy-to-use resources to help you get started on addressing climate change.
  • Some examples of these resources are listed on this slide

slide 34

Other Resources

FHWA Virtual Adaptation Framework

The FHWA Adaptation Framework web page.

speaker notes

Additional information is also available on FHWA’s Virtual Adaptation Framework, a website that houses numerous resources to help DOTs prepare for climate change – including from an infrastructure, rather than TSMO and maintenance, perspective

slide 35

Contact Information

[Speaker Name]




For national-level questions, please contact:

Paul Pisano
Road Weather and Work Zone Management
Office of Operations, FHWA

Robert Hyman
Sustainable Transport and Climate Change Team
Office of Planning, Environment and Realty, FHWA

speaker notes

  • [Speaker – insert your contact info here]
  • You can also contact Paul Pisano, or Rob Hyman, FHWA staff who led the development of the Climate Change Adaptation Guide for Transportation Systems Management, Operations and Maintenance

Office of Operations