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

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

Transmittal Letter

USDOT triskelion logo.
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE
Washington, D.C. 20590

August 17, 2015

Dear Colleague:

The increased frequency and severity of disasters continue to tax the personnel, resources and capabilities of State and local departments of transportation. Whether it's transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO), maintenance, emergency managers, infrastructure or planning offices – all must respond and adapt to what has become the new reality – one that incorporates the impacts of climate change into the decision making process.

Though transportation agencies have made significant advances in mainstreaming TSMO and maintenance into their core business processes in the past decade, climate change poses a risk to continuing TSMO and maintenance improvements and threatens to erode the public trust in a safe, reliable infrastructure. This is captured in the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Order issued in December 2014, in compliance with 2013 Executive Order 13653, Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change.

The challenge in developing this primer, Climate Change Adaptation Guide, reflects the challenge inherent in understanding climate change and its impacts on transportation as we know it, i.e., finding ways to help very different and diverse sets of stakeholders understand the benefits of reaching across institutional divides in order to work together to achieve common objectives.

The audience for the primer includes TSMO and maintenance program managers, emergency managers, planners and supervisors involved in all operational aspects that are likely to be affected by climate change. The content features the following:

  • Context and Rationale for Adapting to Climate Change,
  • What's Already Being Done,
  • Steps to Adapt TSMO and Maintenance Programs to Climate Change, and
  • How to Get Started.

We look forward to receiving your feedback, reactions, and experiences in implementing these concepts. Please direct any comments, questions, and suggestions to Laurel Radow at or Paul Pisano at

Sincerely yours,

Signature: Jeffrey A. Lindley

Jeffrey A. Lindley
Associate Administrator for Operations
Federal Highway Administration

Office of Operations