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

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Appendix D. Glossary of Terms

Adaptation. Adjustment in natural or human systems in anticipation of or response to a changing environment in a way that effectively uses beneficial opportunities or reduces negative effects. (FHWA Order 5520)

Adaptive Capacity. The ability of a system to adjust to climate change (including climate variability and extremes) to moderate potential damages, to take advantage of opportunities, or to cope with the consequences. (FHWA Gulf Coast Study, Phase 1) 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. This framework is adapted from a concept developed in the information technology industry called the Capability Maturity Model (CMM), which has been tailored to the transportation community. The CMF identifies the six key dimensions of process and institutional capability that directly relate to improving program effectiveness: business processes; systems and technology; performance measurement; culture; organization and workforce; collaboration. (FHWA, Creating an Effective Program to Advance TSMO Primer)

Change Averse. A strong opposition to changing practices or beliefs.

Climate Change. Climate change refers to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time. Climate change includes major variations in temperature, precipitation, or wind patterns, among other environmental conditions, that occur over several decades or longer. Changes in climate may manifest as a rise in sea level, as well as increase the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events now and in the future. (FHWA Order 5520)

Climate Stressor. Acute and long-term weather events and trends that have an effect on an asset or service. Among others, stressors include extreme temperature events and precipitation events, drought, sea level rise, storm surge, intense storms (e.g., hurricanes and tropical storms), strong winds, blizzards, humidity, permafrost thaw, and long-term temperature and precipitation trends. (FHWA Gulf Coast, Phase 1)

Efficacy. The extent to which the strategy, if successfully implemented, reduces the risk. (NYSERDA Responding to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID))

Emergency Management. The process of preventing, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from an emergency; where an emergency is an unexpected, large-scale, damaging event. (TRB Regional TSMO Committee's Glossary)

Exposure. The nature and degree to which a system or asset is exposed to significant climate variations. (FHWA, Gulf Coast Study, Phase 2)

Extreme Weather Events. Extreme weather events can include significant anomalies in temperature, precipitation and winds and can manifest as heavy precipitation and flooding, heatwaves, drought, wildfires and windstorms (including tornadoes and tropical storms). Consequences of extreme weather events can include safety concerns, damage, destruction, and economic loss. Climate change can also cause or influence extreme weather events. (FHWA Order 5520)

Extreme Events. For the purposes of this directive, the term "extreme events" refers to risks posed by climate change and extreme weather events. The definition does not apply to other uses of the term nor include consideration of risks to the transportation system from other natural hazards, accidents, or other human induced disruptions. (FHWA Order 5520)

Feasibility. How practical it is for a particular strategy to be implemented by a department, accounting for engineering, policy, legal, and insurance considerations. (NYSERDA Responding to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID))

Flexibility. Ability to make course corrections if a particular strategy is adopted. Such corrections are an essential part of adaptive management. (NYSERDA Responding to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID))

Performance Measurement. A process of assessing progress toward achieving predetermined goals. (TRB Regional TSMO Committee's Glossary)

Performance Measures. Indicators that provide the basis for evaluating the transportation system operating conditions and identifying the location and severity of congestion and other problems. (TRB Regional TSMO Committee's Glossary)

Preparedness. Actions taken to plan, organize, equip, train, and exercise to build, apply, and sustain the capabilities necessary to prevent, protect against, ameliorate the effects of, respond to, and recover from climate change related damages to life, health, property, livelihoods, ecosystems, and national security. (FHWA Order 5520)

Projection. A climate projection is the simulated response of the climate system to a scenario of future emission or concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and aerosols, generally derived using climate models. (IPCC Glossary)

Resilience. Resilience or resiliency is the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions. (FHWA Order 5520)

Risk Aversion. The behavior of humans while exposed to uncertainty to attempt to reduce that uncertainty. (Wikipedia)

Road Weather Management. Mitigation strategies employed in response to various weather threats including fog, high winds, snow, rain, ice, flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, and avalanches. (TRB Regional TSMO Committee's Glossary)

Scenario. A plausible description of how the future may develop based on a coherent and internally consistent set of assumptions about key driving forces (e.g., rate of technological change, prices) and relationships. Note that scenarios are neither predictions nor forecasts, but are useful to provide a view of the implications of developments and actions. (IPCC Glossary)

Scenario Planning. Scenario planning provides a framework for developing a shared vision for the future by analyzing various forces (e.g., climate change, land use, economy) that affect growth and management of the transportation system. Scenario planning tests various future alternatives in order to identify solutions that meet state and community needs under a variety of potential futures. Scenario planning is used in exercises to make critical decisions in the face of uncertainty. (FHWA Scenario Planning and Visualization in Transportation)

Sensitivity. The degree to which a transportation system or asset is affected by climate variability or change. (FHWA Gulf Cost Study, Phase 2)

Transportation Asset Management (TAM). A strategic and systematic process of operating, maintaining, upgrading, and expanding physical assets effectively through their life cycle. It focuses on business and engineering practices for resource allocation and utilization, with the objective of better decision making based upon quality information and well defined objectives. (TRB Regional TSMO Committee's Glossary)

Transportation Management Center (TMC). The hub of a transportation management and control system. The TMC brings together human and technological components from various agencies to perform a variety of functions. (TRB Regional TSMO Committee's Glossary)

Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO). An integrated program to optimize the performance of existing infrastructure through the implementation of systems, services, and projects designed to preserve capacity and improve security, safety, and reliability of the transportation system. (TRB Regional TSMO Committee's Glossary)

Vulnerability. The degree to which a transportation system or asset is susceptible to, and unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate change, variability, and extremes. Vulnerability is a function of exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity. (FHWA Gulf Coast Study, Phase 2)

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