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Climate Change Adaptation Guide for Transportation Systems Management, Operations, and Maintenance

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Appendix B. Additional Resources

Many resources are provided throughout this document. This appendix provides a few additional resources that may be of interest and use to agencies seeking to embark on adaptation planning.

A. Federal Highway Administration Virtual Framework

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) "Virtual Framework for Vulnerability Assessment" (Virtual Framework) is an interactive web version of FHWA's 2012 Climate Change and Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment Framework. The Virtual Framework provides guidance to State DOTs and other transportation agencies on how to assess and address their vulnerabilities to climate change. The Virtual Framework breaks the vulnerability assessment process into six modules: Articulate Objectives, Identify Key Climate Variables, Characterize and Select Assets, Assess Vulnerabilities, Integrate Vulnerabilities into Decision Making, and Monitor and Revisit.

Screen capture of the FHWA Virtual Framework for Vulnerability Assessment web page.
Figure 13. Screenshot. FHWA Virtual Framework for Vulnerability Assessment.

Each module contains step-by-step guidance, video testimonials from professionals sharing lessons on their experience, case studies related to the framework step, links to resources related to the step, and tools to help a user complete the step. The Virtual Framework is (for now) primarily focused on assessing and addressing infrastructure-related vulnerabilities, but offers several resources that can prove useful to adapting transportation systems management and operations (TSMO) and maintenance practices. This guide identifies specific resources within the Virtual Framework as they apply to the steps outlined herein. Readers are encouraged to explore the Virtual Framework for additional resources that may be relevant to their organization. The Virtual Framework is available at:

B. Existing Benefit-Cost Assessment Tools

A number of guidance documents and tools for conducting cost benefit assessments are available for the transportation sector. Some guidance documents, like the US department of Transportation's (USDOT) Asset Management Primer or Operations Benefit-Cost Analysis Desk Reference, are intended to inform a particular type of decision or decision maker, but do not address adaptation and extreme events directly. Some, like National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 750, Climate Change, Extreme Weather Events, and the Highway System, provide a high-level discussion of climate-risk-adjusted benefit-cost-methodology, but do not provide a comprehensive set of resources or guidance for each step of the analysis. The various tools that exist—such as or the azard Mitigation Cost Effectiveness (HMCE) tool—also vary in their audiences, in the types of inputs and outputs they produce, in the scalability of the projects they can evaluate, and in their ability to capture extreme events or climate change. A sampling of existing tools and resources is shown in the box below.

Sample of Existing Tools and Resources

C. International Efforts

The Hellenic Institute of Transport published a review of transportation adaptation strategies in 2015.32 Example adaptation strategies related to TSMO and maintenance are listed in the text box below.

Example Adaptation Strategies Related to TSMO and Maintenance from Hellenic Institute of Transport's Roadmaps for Adaptation Measures project.

Procedural and operational options

  • Organization of the supply of trapped drivers/passengers with the help of volunteers and aid organizations.
  • Adaptation of timetables and service intensities under adverse weather conditions.
  • Need for alternate routes for freight transport in Arctic areas.
  • Priority plans that maintain access to hospitals, emergency stations.
  • Definition of priority routes for road clearance in case of large scale impacts.
  • Tracking of "chain reactions" of extreme weather events, particularly in agglomeration areas.
  • Coordination of emergency plans amongst transport modes and networks.
  • Implementation of appropriate risk management procedures in order to be prepared for adverse conditions.

Organizational and decision making processes

  • Setting and implementation of international standards for weather and emergency information.
  • Consultation with and coordination of highway authorities, subcontractors, suppliers, and key stakeholders to adjust adaptation strategies.
  • Establishment of networks of urban, regional, and national stakeholders: transport companies, authorities, and users.
  • Issuance of educational and information material on emergency cases, planning and maintenance to related authorities.
  • Conduction of public campaigns in order to raise public awareness regarding local hazard situation.

Technical options

  • Provision of shelters for non-motorized transportation.
  • Preparation for sufficient salt stocks and road clearing equipment availability before and during winter or storm seasons.
  • Development of timely communication and coordination plans involving stakeholders and freight operator associations.
  • Roadside vegetation, absorbing generated heat, protecting roads.
  • Enhancement of road layers to prevent washing-off.
  • Measures of protection against slope subsidence around road/rail network to avoid cut off links.
  • Additional pumping in tunnels.
  • Installation of wind-breakers.
  • Regular clearance of cycle lanes and sidewalks during winter.

Information flow and ICT support

  • Development of sustainable business models for the provision of emergency information systems.
  • Provision of reliable, instant, and-if feasible-personalized information on duration of the incident and travel options.
  • Installation of signs that warn the driver/pedestrian on upcoming flooded network.
  • Development of intelligent feedback systems in vehicles to sustain user attention.
  • Adoption of operational, physical, technical, procedural, and institutional integration of weather and traffic control services.
  • Preparation of broad communication on disruptions and alternatives with the public, using a variety of communication channels.

Legislative options

  • Strict speed limit enforcement during storms.
  • Review of maintenance contracts and procedures to make them flexible and effective even under rapidly changing weather conditions.

D. Resources Listed in the Guide

AASHTO, Transportation Systems Management and Operations Guidance.  Available at:

Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration, Advancing Metropolitan Planning for Operations: The Building Blocks of a Model Transportation Plan Incorporating Operations - A Desk Reference, FHWA-HOP-10-027 (Washington, DC, 2010).  Available at:

Federal Highway Administration, Clarus Multi-State Regional Demonstrations, Evaluation of Use Case #3: Non-Winter Maintenance Decision Support System, FHWA-JPO-11-118 (Washington, DC, 2011). Available at:, accessed May 26, 2015.

Federal Highway Administration, INVEST 1.0 (Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool) 2012. Available at: 

Federal Highway Administration, "Planning for Systems Management & Operations as part of Climate Change Adaptation," FHWA-HOP-13-030 (Washington, DC, 2013). Available at:

Federal Highway Administration,  "Regional Climate Change Effects: Useful Information for Transportation Agencies," 2014. Available at:

Federal Highway Administration, Office of Operations, Creating an Effective Program to Advance Transportation System Management and Operations: Primer, FHWA-HOP-12-003 (Washington, DC, 2012). Available at:, accessed May 20, 2015.

Federal Highway Administration, "Operations Performance Measurement Fundamentals" Web page. Available at:  

Federal Highway Administration, Order 5520, Subject: Transportation System Preparedness and Resilience to Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events, December 15, 2014.  Available at:

Federal Highway Administration, Climate Change & Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessment Framework, FHWA-HEP-13-005 (Washington, DC, 2012). Available at:

Federal Highway Administration, Assessing Transportation System Vulnerability to Climate Change: Synthesis of Lessons Learned and Methods Applied, "Chapter 4. Tools and Resources," FHWA-HEP-15-007 (Washington, DC, 2014). Available at:

Federal Highway Administration, "Climate Change Adaptation Case Studies and Resources" Web page. Available at:

Huber, D.G. and Gulledge, J. "Extreme Weather and Climate Change: Understanding the Link and Managing the Risk" Science and Impacts Program. (Arlington, VA: Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, 2011). Available at:

Lockwood, S., J. O'laughlin, D. Keever, and K. Weiss, NCHRP Report 525: Surface Transportation Security Volume 6 – Guide for Emergency Transportation Operations, Washington, DC: Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, 2005.  Available online at:

Meyer, M.D., E. Rowan, C. Snow, and A. Choate, "Impacts of Extreme Weather on Transportation: National Symposium Summary," American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), June 29, 2013. Available at

Meyer, M. et al., NCHRP Report 750: Strategic Issues Facing Transportation, Volume 2: Climate Change, Extreme Weather Events, and the Highway System. Washington, DC: Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, 2014. Available at:

Minnesota Department of Transportation, MnDOT Flash Flood Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment Pilot Project, Final report prepared for MnDOT and the USDOT Federal Highway Administration by Parsons Brinckerhoff and Catalysis Adaptation Partners, 2014.

NCHRP 25-25/Task 94 (Active), "Integrating Climate Change and Extreme Weather Into Transportation Asset Management Plans,", accessed May 20, 2015.

Stamos, I., E. Mitsakis, and J.M. Salanova Grau, "Roadmaps for adaptation measures of transportation to climate change," Transportation Research Record, 2015 (forthcoming).

Transportation Research Board Special Task Force on Climate Change and Energy, Transportation Research Circular E-C152: Adapting Transportation to the Impacts of Climate Change State of the Practice 2011,  June 2011.  Available at:

Walsh, J., D. Wuebbles, et al. Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment, "Ch. 2: Our Changing Climate," U.S. Global Change Research Program, 19-67. Accessible at:

Washington State Department of Transportation. 2011. Climate Impacts Vulnerability Assessment.

U.S. Department of Transportation, 2014, U.S. DOT Gulf Coast Study, Phase 2, Task 3.1: Screen for Vulnerability, FHWA-HEP-15-019, available at:, accessed May 20, 2015.

U.S. Department of Transportation, Transportation Climate Change Sensitivity Matrix, Available at:, accessed May 20, 2015.

Utah Department of Transportation, Utah Winter Severity Index Phase 1, UT-12.12 (Salt Lake City, 2012). Available at:

32 I. Stamos, E. Mitsakis, and J.M. Salanova Grau, "Roadmaps for adaptation measures of transportation to climate change," Transportation Research Record 2015 (forthcoming). [ Return to note 32. ]

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