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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation 3 Impacts of Climate Change on Transportation This chapter explores what is known about the potential impacts of climate change on transportation. First, the vulnerability of the transportation system to climate change is considered, recognizing, however, that not all changes will have negative impacts. Then, the potential impacts of the major climate change factors of relevance for U.S. transportation identified in the previous chapter are described for each transportation mode. Next, the few studies that have actually assessed the impacts of climate change on transportation in a particular region or metropolitan area are reviewed; these studies provide a good illustration of regional differences in both expected climate changes and impacts. The chapter ends with the committee’s findings on the impacts of climate change on transportation. VULNERABILITY OF THE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM TO CLIMATE CHANGE No comprehensive inventory exists of U.S. transportation infrastructure vulnerable to climate change impacts, the potential extent of that exposure, or the potential damage costs. Nevertheless, some salient data can be pieced together from various sources. For example, 53 percent of the U.S. population lives in counties with coastal areas, although such areas make up only 17 percent of the nation’s contiguous land area (Crossett et al. 2004; U.S. Census Bureau 2005, 28).1 Population density in coastal counties (exclud- 1 Coastal areas are defined by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as counties and equivalent areas with at least 15 percent of their land area either in a coastal watershed or in a coastal area between watersheds.
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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation ing Alaska) is significantly higher than the national average—300 versus 98 persons per square mile—reflecting the limited land area involved (Crossett et al. 2004). This population swells in the summer months, as beaches are the top tourist destination (Douglass et al. 2005). Coastal areas are projected to experience continued development pressures as both retirement magnets and tourist destinations. For example, many of the most populous coastal counties located in California, south Florida, and Texas (Harris County), which already experience the effects of hurricanes and other tropical storms, are expected to grow rapidly in the coming decades (Crossett et al. 2004). This growth will generate demand for more transportation infrastructure and increase the difficulty of evacuation in an emergency. Sea level rise, which climate scientists now believe to be virtually certain, in combination with expected population growth, will aggravate the situation, making housing and infrastructure in low-lying coastal areas even more vulnerable to extensive flooding and higher storm surges. An estimated 60,000 miles of coastal highways is already exposed to periodic coastal storm flooding and wave action (Douglass et al. 2005).2 Those highways that currently serve as evacuation routes during hurricanes and other coastal storms could be compromised in the future. Although coastal highway mileage is a small fraction of the nearly 4 million miles of public roads in the United States, the vulnerability of these highways is concentrated in a few states, and some of these routes also serve as barriers to sea intrusion and as evacuation routes (Titus 2002). Coastal areas are also major centers of economic activity. Six of the nation’s top 10 U.S. freight gateways (by value of shipments) (BTS 2007) will be at risk from sea level rise (see Table 3-1). Seven of the 10 largest ports (by tons of traffic) (BTS 2007, 30) are located in the Gulf Coast, whose vulnerability was amply demonstrated during the 2005 tropical storm season.3 The Gulf Coast is also home to the U.S. oil and gas industries, providing nearly 30 percent of the nation’s crude oil production and 2 These estimates were made by using geographic information systems to measure the length of roads in coastal counties, superimposing data from the Flood Insurance Rate Maps of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to indicate those roads along the coast or tidal rivers likely to be inundated by storm surge in a 100-year storm, and finally adjusting the estimate to eliminate flooding from rainfall runoff. 3 The Port of South Louisiana is the nation’s largest port by tonnage and the largest agricultural export facility in the United States (Mineta 2005). Fortunately, it suffered only minor structural damage from Hurricane Katrina.
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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation TABLE 3-1 Top 10 U.S. Foreign Trade Freight Gateways by Value of Shipments, 2005 Rank Port Mode Shipment Value ($ billions) 1 John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York Air 134.9 2 Los Angeles, California Vessel 134.3 3 Detroit, Michigan Land 130.5 4 New York, New York, and New Jersey Vessel 130.4 5 Long Beach, California Vessel 124.6 6 Laredo, Texas Land 93.7 7 Houston, Texas Vessel 86.1 8 Chicago, Illinois Air 73.4 9 Los Angeles International Airport, California Air 72.9 10 Buffalo–Niagara Falls, New York Land 70.5 Source: BTS 2007, 39. approximately 20 percent of its natural gas production (Felmy 2005). Several thousand off-shore drilling platforms, dozens of refineries, and thousands of miles of pipelines are vulnerable to disruption and damage from storm surge and high winds of tropical storms, as was recently demonstrated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Those hurricanes halted all oil and gas production from the Gulf, disrupted nearly 20 percent of the nation’s refinery capacity, and closed oil and gas pipelines (CBO 2006).4 Climate scientists believe that global warming is likely to increase the intensity of strong hurricanes making landfall, increasing the risk of damage to or lengthening the disruption in the operation of these vital facilities. Inland areas are also likely to experience the effects of climate change. Increased intense precipitation predicted by climate scientists for the continental United States could increase the severity of such events as the great flood of 1993. That event caused catastrophic flooding along 500 miles of the Mississippi and Missouri River system, paralyzing surface transportation systems, including rail, truck, and marine traffic. Major east–west traffic was halted for roughly 6 weeks in an area stretching from St. Louis 4 By the end of 2005—4 months after Hurricane Katrina and a little more than 3 months after Hurricane Rita—roughly one-quarter of crude oil production and one-fifth of natural gas production from the Gulf remained shut down (CBO 2006). Two percent of the nation’s refinery capacity still was not operating.
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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation west to Kansas City and north to Chicago, affecting one-quarter of all U.S. freight that either originated or terminated in the flood-affected region (Changnon 1996). Drier conditions are likely to prevail in the summer in midcontinental regions, such as the Saint Lawrence Seaway. Weather and vessel incidents cause most of the lock downtime on the seaway, but in 2000 and 2001, water levels were at their lowest point in 35 years, reducing vessel carrying capacity to about 90 percent of normal (BTS 2005, 140). If low water levels become more common because of dryer conditions due to climate change, freight movements in the region could be seriously impaired, and extensive dredging could be required to keep shipping channels open (Great Lakes Regional Assessment Team 2000; Quinn 2002). A longer shipping season afforded by a warmer climate, however, could offset some of the resulting adverse economic effects. The vulnerability of transportation infrastructure to climate change is in part a function of its robustness and degree of protection from exposure to climate change effects (as is the case, for example, with seawalls and levees). It also depends on the amount of redundancy in the system. Box 3-1 illustrates how system redundancies proved critical to the rapid restoration of partial rail service during both Hurricane Katrina and the 1993 Mississippi River flood.5 Yet the predominant trend has been for the railroads (as well as other owners of infrastructure) to shed uneconomical unused capacity by consolidating operations and abandoning underused lines. Likewise, major businesses, both manufacturing and retail, have reduced operating costs through just-in-time delivery strategies, but with the effect of increasing their vulnerability to disruptions or failures of the transportation system from either natural or human causes. The network character of the transportation system can help mitigate the negative economic consequences of a shock to the system, particularly in the longer term, as shipments can be shifted to alternative modes or other regions can pick up the interrupted service. To illustrate, the Port of Gulfport, Mississippi, which was competing with New Orleans to be the second-largest container port in the Gulf, was 95 percent destroyed by the 30-foot storm surge from Hurricane Katrina (Plume 2005). Subsequently, much of the traffic shifted to other ports while Gulfport undertook major reconstruction of its facilities. On the other hand, the network character 5 See also the discussion later in this chapter of the results of a case study of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita commissioned for this study.
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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation BOX 3-1 Examples of the Role of System Redundancies in the Restoration of Critical Infrastructure Following Natural Disasters Hurricane Katrina significantly damaged rail transport in the Gulf Coast region, particularly east–west traffic through the New Orleans interchange rail gateway—one of only four major rail crossings of the Mississippi River. CSX was the rail carrier most affected, sustaining significant damage to two-thirds of its track mileage between Mobile and New Orleans and to five railroad bridges between Biloxi and New Orleans (M. Hinsdale, presentation to the committee, Jan. 5, 2006). Estimated reconstruction costs were approximately $300 million, or about one-quarter of CSX’s annual operating revenues available for capital investment. Nevertheless, CSX coped with the situation by using “borrowed” track of other, less hard-hit railroads in the region and by rerouting freight as far north as the St. Louis Mississippi River crossing. CSX has committed to rebuilding its coastal track in the short term but is evaluating less vulnerable alternative routes using existing rail corridors or constructing farther inland. At the time, the flood of 1993 was hailed as the worst natural disaster ever experienced by the U.S. railroad industry. Total physical damages amounted to more than $282 million in 2005 dollars—23 percent of which included costs to operate detoured trains (Changnon 2006). In addition, because of the delays, the railroads lost revenues of $198 million. Nevertheless, nearly 3,000 long-distance trains were rerouted onto other railroad lines and some little-used lines bordering on abandonment. System redundancies and operating arrangements with other carriers enabled the affected railroads to continue operating—more slowly and at increased cost—but operating nonetheless. of the transportation system can work to magnify the effects of a shock to the system, particularly when critical links are damaged or destroyed. This situation was well illustrated during Hurricane Katrina with the loss of critical highway and rail bridges. POTENTIAL IMPACTS BY TRANSPORTATION MODE The impacts of climate change on transportation infrastructure will differ depending on the particular mode of transportation, its geographic loca-
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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation tion, and its condition. This section is focused on those climate changes and weather parameters identified in the previous chapter (see Table 2-1) that climate scientists agree are most likely to occur over the course of this century and are of greatest relevance to transportation. Potential impacts on all modes of transport—land, marine, and aviation—are considered. However, the discussion is intended to be illustrative rather than comprehensive in coverage, highlighting major impacts, similarities and differences among modes, and implications for adaptation strategies. Annex 3-1 gives the relevant climate and weather parameters along with potential impacts by transportation mode. In preparing this table, the committee drew on past efforts to identify transportation-sensitive weather conditions, as well as the collective expertise of the committee members. Some notable past reports include the Weather Information for Surface Transportation National Needs Assessment Report (OFCM 2002), the Metropolitan East Coast Assessment (Gornitz and Couch 2000; see detail in the next section), the U.S. Department of Transportation Workshop on Transportation and Climate Change (USDOT 2002), and an article by Black (1990). In addition, the discussion in this section draws heavily on a paper commissioned for this study (Peterson et al. 2006; see Appendix C) that provides a more detailed discussion of the potential impacts of climate change on transportation on the basis of recent global climate simulations. The primary focus here is on the direct impacts of potential climate changes on transportation infrastructure. Nevertheless, many of these effects will be influenced by the environment in which the infrastructure is located. For example, increased precipitation levels in some regions will affect moisture levels in the soil and hydrostatic buildup behind retaining walls and abutments and the stability of pavement subgrades. Runoff from increased precipitation levels will also affect stream flow and sediment delivery in some locations, with potentially adverse effects on bridge foundations. Permafrost decline will affect Arctic land forms and hydrology, with potentially adverse effects on the stability of road- and rail beds. And sea level rise will affect coastal land forms, exposing many coastal areas to storm surge as barrier islands and other natural barriers disappear. Such changes are noted here, but their variability from region to region prohibits further elaboration. There are also likely to be many indirect effects of potential climate changes on transportation. For example, possible climate-caused shifts in
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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation demographics or in the distribution of agricultural production, forests, and fisheries would have implications for road usage and other transport patterns between emerging economic centers and urban areas. Transportation patterns could also shift as the tourism industry responds to changes in ecologically or recreationally interesting destinations. Similarly, climate changes elsewhere in the world that shift markets or demographics could affect the U.S. transportation system. Other indirect effects may be manifested at the interface between mitigation and adaptation. Likely U.S. regulation of greenhouse gas emissions by the Environmental Protection Agency will affect transportation activities, potentially shifting travel to more energy-efficient modes (see Appendix B). Furthermore, climate changes may present additional challenges to meeting air and water quality standards. For example, warmer summertime temperatures will exacerbate air pollution, particularly ground-level ozone, likely requiring further action to mitigate transportation-related emissions of pollutants. Similarly, changes in runoff resulting from modified precipitation regimes could affect water quality, with implications for roadway treatments. Impacts of Warming Temperatures and Temperature Extremes Land Transportation Modes Land transportation modes comprise highways (including bridges and tunnels); rail (including private rail lines and public transportation); the vehicles that use these facilities—passenger cars, trucks, buses, rail and rail transit cars—and pipelines (recognizing that the latter are buried underground in many areas). Projected warming temperatures and more heat extremes will affect all of these modes (see Annex 3-1). The effects of temperature warming are already being experienced in Alaska in the form of continued retreat of permafrost regions (see the discussion of Alaska below), creating land subsidence issues for some sections of the road and rail systems and for some of the elevated supports for aboveground sections of the Trans-Alaska pipeline. Warming winter temperatures have also shortened the season for ice roads that provide vital access to communities and industrial activities in remote areas. Alaska’s situation is quite different from that of many of the lower 48 states, however, where warming temperatures should have less dra-
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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation matic, and in some cases beneficial, effects. In many northern states, for example, warming winter temperatures will bring about reductions in snow and ice removal costs, lessen adverse environmental impacts from the use of salt and chemicals on roads and bridges, extend the construction season, and improve the mobility and safety of passenger and freight travel through reduced winter hazards. Expected increases in temperature extremes, however, will have less positive impacts. More freeze–thaw conditions may occur, creating frost heaves and potholes on road and bridge surfaces and resulting in load restrictions on certain roads to minimize the damage. With the expected earlier onset of seasonal warming, the period of springtime load restrictions may be reduced in some areas but is likely to expand in others with shorter winters but longer thaw seasons. Periods of excessive summer heat are likely to increase wildfires, threatening communities and infrastructure directly and bringing about road and rail closures in affected areas. Longer periods of extreme heat may compromise pavement integrity (e.g., softening asphalt and increasing rutting from traffic); cause deformation of rail lines and derailments or, at a minimum, speed restrictions (Rossetti 2002);6 and cause thermal expansion of bridge joints, adversely affecting bridge operation and increasing maintenance costs. Pipelines in the lower 48 states are not likely to experience adverse effects from heat extremes. Marine Transportation Marine transportation infrastructure includes ports and harbors and supporting intermodal terminals and the ships and barges that use these facilities. Expected climate change impacts differ for coastal and inland waterways. Warming winter temperatures, particularly in northern coastal areas, could be a boon for marine transportation. Fewer days below freezing would reduce problems with ice accumulation on vessels, decks, riggings, and docks; the occurrence of dangerous ice fog; and the likelihood of ice jams in ports. The striking thinning (Rothrock and Zhang 2005) and overall downward trend in the extent (Stroeve et al. 2005) of Arctic sea ice are regarded as a major opportunity for shippers (Annex 3-1). In the short 6 Proper installation of continuous welded rail usually prevents kinks from occurring, but not always (Changnon 2006).
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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation term, continued reduction in Arctic sea ice should result in more ice-free ports, improved access to both ports and natural resources in remote areas, and longer shipping seasons. In the longer term, shippers are looking forward to new Arctic shipping routes that could provide significant cost savings in shipping times and distances (see the discussion of Alaska below). For the next several decades, however, warming temperatures and melting sea ice are likely to result in increased variability in year-to-year shipping conditions and higher costs due to requirements for stronger ships and support systems (e.g., ice-capable ship designs, icebreaker escorts, search and rescue support) (ACIA 2004). In addition, improved access to remote areas may increase the risk of environmental degradation to fragile ecosystems. Warming temperatures are also likely to provide longer shipping seasons for the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes (Annex 3-1). Because of the complex interaction among warmer temperatures, reduced lake ice, and increased evaporation, however, all nine climate model simulations suggest lower lake levels as the climate warms (Great Lakes Regional Assessment Team 2000).7 With lower lake levels, ships will be unable to carry as much cargo, and hence shipping costs will increase, although some of the adverse economic impacts could be offset by a longer shipping season.8 A recent study of the economic impact of climate change on Canadian commercial navigation on the Great Lakes, for example, found that predicted lowering of Great Lakes water levels would result in an estimated increase in shipping costs for Canadian commercial navigation of between 13 and 29 percent by 2050, all else remaining equal (Millard 2005).9 Lower water levels could also create periodic problems for river traffic, reminiscent of the stranded barges on the Mississippi River during the drought of 1988 (du Vair et al. 2002). In the longer run, of course, less 7 See in particular Chapter 4 on climate change and shipping/boating. 8 According to the Lake Carriers’ Association, a 1,000-foot-long vessel typically used for intralake transport loses 270 tons of capacity for each inch of draft loss. (Draft is the distance between the water line and the bottom of the vessel.) Oceangoing vessels, sized for passage through the St. Lawrence Seaway, are approximately 740 feet long and lose 100 tons of capacity for each inch of draft lost (Great Lakes Regional Assessment Team 2000). 9 Impacts were estimated on the basis of three climate scenarios: one that assumes a doubling of the atmospheric concentration of CO2 by midcentury and two that assume a more gradual increase in greenhouse gases and include the cooling effects of sulfate aerosols. The study found that economic impacts varied widely by commodity and route.
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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation efficient waterborne commodity movement would likely result in shifts to other transportation modes, such as truck and rail. Increased dredging could offset some of the impacts of climate change, but at a high cost and with potentially negative environmental consequences. Air Transportation Air transportation comprises airports and ground facilities, as well as the airplanes that carry both passengers and freight and the air traffic control system. Warming temperatures and possible increases in temperature extremes will affect airport ground facilities—runways in particular—in much the same way that they will affect roads. In Alaska, where use of air transport is atypically high relative to land transportation modes and many airstrips are built on permafrost, continued retreat and thawing of permafrost could undermine runway foundations, necessitating major repairs or even relocation of some landing strips (Annex 3-1; U.S. Arctic Research Commission Permafrost Task Force 2003). In contrast, airports in many of the lower 48 northern states are likely to benefit from reductions in the cost of snow and ice removal and in the environmental impacts of salt and chemical use. Airlines could benefit as well from reduced need for deicing of airplanes. The amount of any reduction, however, will depend on the balance between expected warming and increased precipitation. More heat extremes, however, are likely to be problematic. They could cause heat buckling of runways. Extreme heat can also affect aircraft lift; hotter air is less dense, reducing mass flowing over the wing to create lift. The problem is exacerbated at high-altitude airports. If runways are not sufficiently long for large aircraft to build up enough speed to generate lift, aircraft weight must be reduced or some flights canceled altogether. Thus, increases in extreme heat are likely to result in payload restrictions, flight cancellations, and service disruptions at affected airports, and could require some airports to extend runway lengths, if feasible. An analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for the Denver and Phoenix airports estimated summer cargo loss (June through August) for a single Boeing 747 of about 17 and 9 percent, respectively, by 2030 because of the effects of increased temperature and water vapor (T. R. Karl and D. M. Anderson, Emerging Issues in Abrupt Climate Change, briefing, March 12, 2007).
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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation Impacts of Increased Heavy Precipitation and Sea Level Rise Land Transportation Modes The frequency, intensity, and duration of intense precipitation events are important factors in design specifications for transportation infrastructure. Probabilistic estimates of rainfall intensities for a range of durations (5 minutes to 24 hours) for return periods, or recurrence intervals, of 20, 50, and 100 years have been used by civil engineers for designs of road culverts, storm water drainage systems, and road- and rail beds. Projected increases in intense precipitation events will necessitate updating design specifications to provide for greater capacity and shorter recurrence intervals, increasing system costs. The most immediate impact of more intense precipitation will be increased flooding of coastal roads and rail lines (Annex 3-1). Expected sea level rise will aggravate the flooding because storm surges will build on a higher base, reaching farther inland (Titus 2002). In fact, the chapter in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report on North America identifies coastal flooding from expected sea level rise and storm surge, especially along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, as one of the most serious effects of climate change (Burkett 2002 in Field et al. 2007). Indeed, several studies of sea level rise project that transportation infrastructure in some coastal areas along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic will be permanently inundated sometime in the next century (Dingerson 2005; Gornitz and Couch 2000; Leatherman et al 2000; Titus 2002). Low-lying bridge and tunnel entrances for roads, rail, and rail transit will also be more susceptible to flooding, and thousands of culverts could be undersized for flows. Engineers must be prepared to deal with the resulting erosion and subsidence of road bases and rail beds, as well as erosion and scouring of bridge supports.10 Interruption of road and rail traffic is likely to become more common with more frequent flooding. The impact of sea level rise is limited to coastal areas, but the effect of intense precipitation on land transportation infrastructure and operations is not. For example, a record-breaking 24-hour rainstorm in July 10 Scour is the hole left behind when sediment (sand and rocks) is washed away from the bottom of a river. Although scour may occur at any time, scour action is especially strong during floods. Swiftly flowing water has more energy than calm water to lift and carry sediment downriver. Removal of sediment from around bridge piers or abutments (piers are the pillars supporting a bridge and abutments the supports at each end of a bridge) can weaken and ultimately undermine the integrity of bridges (Warren 1993).
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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation experience. Expected changes in climate extremes, such as more extreme temperatures, more intense precipitation, and more intense storms, could push environmental conditions outside the range for which the system was designed. This in turn could necessitate changes in design, materials, construction, and operating and maintenance practices. For example, increased flooding from more intense storms could require a combination of physical improvements (e.g., greater pumping capacity, more elevated bridges) and operational measures (e.g., better flood warning and evacuation plans, better real-time micro-level weather forecasts). Climate change will create both winners and losers. For example, the marine transportation sector could benefit from more open seas in the Arctic, reducing shipping routes, times, and costs in the long run. In cold regions, expected temperature warming, particularly decreases in very cold days and later onset of seasonal freeze and earlier onset of seasonal thaw, could mean less snow and ice control for departments of transportation and safer travel conditions for passenger vehicles and freight. In all cases, transportation professionals will have to confront and adapt to climate change without knowing the full magnitude of expected changes. The greatest challenge is the uncertainty as to exactly what changes to expect and when. Thus, transportation decision makers will need to adopt a more probabilistic risk management approach to infrastructure planning, design, and operations to accommodate uncertainties about the nature and timing of expected climate changes—a major focus of the next chapter. REFERENCES Abbreviations ACIA Arctic Climate Impact Assessment BTS Bureau of Transportation Statistics CBO Congressional Budget Office FHWA Federal Highway Administration NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration OFCM Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research USDOT U.S. Department of Transportation ACIA. 2004. Impacts of a Warming Arctic. Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom.
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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation Barras, J. A. 2006. Land Area Changes in Coastal Louisiana After the 2005 Hurricanes: A Series of Three Maps. USGS Open File Report 06-1274. U.S. Geological Survey. Black, W. R. 1990. Global Warming: Impacts on the Transportation Infrastructure. TR News, No. 150, Sept.–Oct., pp. 2–8, 34. BTS. 2005. Transportation Statistics Annual Report. Research and Innovative Technology Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, Nov. BTS. 2007. Pocket Guide to Transportation. Research and Innovative Technology Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, Jan. Burkett, V. 2002. Potential Impacts of Climate Change and Variability on Transportation in the Gulf Coast/Mississippi Delta Region. In The Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Transportation, Summary and Discussion Papers, Federal Research Partnership Workshop, Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., Oct. 1–2, pp. 103–113. CBO. 2006. The Macroeconomic Effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2007 to 2016, Jan. Changnon, S. A. (ed.). 1996. The Great Flood of 1993: Causes, Impacts, and Responses. Westview Press, Inc., Boulder, Colo. Changnon, S. A. 1999. Record Flood-Producing Rainstorms of 17–18 July 1996 in the Chicago Metropolitan Area. Part III: Impacts and Responses to the Flash Flooding. Journal of Applied Meteorology, Vol. 38, No. 3, March, pp. 273–280. Changnon, S. A. 2006. Railroads and Weather: From Fogs to Floods and Heat to Hurricanes, the Impacts of Weather and Climate on American Railroading. American Meteorological Society, Boston, Mass. Chan, S. 2007. Flooding Cripples Subway System. New York Times, Aug. 8. Crossett, K. M., T. J. Culliton, P. C. Wiley, and T. R. Goodspeed. 2004. Population Trends Along the Coastal United States: 1980–2008. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Sept. Dingerson, L. 2005. Predicting Future Shoreline Condition Based on Land Use Trends, Logistic Regression, and Fuzzy Logic. Thesis. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, Gloucester, Va. Douglass, S. L., J. M. Richards, J. Lindstrom, and J. Shaw. 2005. An Estimate of the Extent of U.S. Coastal Highways. Presented at 84th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board to the Committee on Hydraulics, Hydrology, and Water Quality, Washington, D.C., Jan. 10. du Vair, P., D. Wickizer, and M. Burer. 2002. Climate Change and the Potential Implications for California’s Transportation System. In The Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Transportation, Summary and Discussion Papers, Federal Research Partnership Workshop, Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., Oct. 1–2, pp. 125–134. Felmy, J. 2005. Statement of the American Petroleum Institute before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittees on Water Resources and Environment and on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Joint Hearing on a Vision and Strategy for Rebuilding New Orleans, U.S. House of Representatives, Oct. 18.
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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation FHWA. 2005. Coastal Bridges and Design Storm Frequency. Office of Bridge Technology, Washington, D.C., Sept. 28. Field, C. B., L. D. Mortsch, M. Brklacich, D. L. Forbes, P. Kovacs, J. A. Patz, S. W. Running, and M. J. Scott. 2007. North America. In Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (M. L. Parry, O. F. Canziani, J. P. Palutikof, P. J. van der Linden, and C. E. Hanson, eds.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom, pp. 617–652. Gornitz, V., and S. Couch. 2000. Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Hazards. In Climate Change and a Global City: An Assessment of the Metropolitan East Coast Region, United States Global Change Research Program, Washington, D.C., pp. 21–46. ccsr.columbia.edu/cig/mec/03_Sea_Level_Rise_and_Coast.pdf. Great Lakes Regional Assessment Team. 2000. Preparing for a Changing Climate: Great Lakes. In A Summary by the Great Lakes Regional Assessment Group (P. J. Sousounis and J. M. Bisanz, eds.), U.S. Global Change Research Program, Oct. Grenzeback, L. R., and A. T. Lukmann. 2007. Case Study of the Transportation Sector’s Response to and Recovery from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Cambridge Systematics, Inc., Jan. 10. Institute for Water Resources. 2005. Climate Impacts on Inland Waterways. Final Report. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alexandria, Va., July. Jacob, K. H., N. Edelblum, and J. Arnold. 2000. Risk Increase to Infrastructure due to Sea Level Rise. Sector Report: Infrastructure, the MEC Regional Assessment. In Climate Change and a Global City: An Assessment of the Metropolitan East Coast (MEC) Region (C. Rosenzweig and W. D. Solecki, eds.). metroeast_climate.ciesin.columbia.edu/reports/infrastructure.pdf. Accessed Apr. 14, 2006. Jacob, K., V. Gornitz, and C. Rosenzweig. 2007. Vulnerability of the New York City Metropolitan Area to Coastal Hazards, Including Sea Level Rise—Inferences for Urban Coastal Risk Management and Adaptation Policies. In Managing Coastal Vulnerability (L. McFadden, R. Nicholls, and E. Penning-Roswell, eds.), Elsevier Publishing, Oxford, United Kingdom, pp. 141–158. Kirshen, P. n.d. CLIMB: Climate’s Long-Term Impacts on Metro Boston, Summary. www.tufts.edu/tie/climb. Accessed April 19, 2006. Kirshen, P., M. Ruth, W. Anderson, and T. R. Lakshmanan. 2004. Infrastructure Systems, Services and Climate Change: Integrated Impacts and Response Strategies for the Boston Metropolitan Area. EPA Grant No. R. 827450-01. Aug. 13. Leatherman, S. P., K. Zhang, and B. C. Douglas. 2000. Sea-Level Rise Shown to Drive Coastal Erosion. Eos, Transactions, Vol. 81, No. 6, pp. 55–57. Meyer, M. D. 2006. Design Standards for U.S. Transportation Infrastructure: The Implications of Climate Change. Georgia Institute of Technology, Dec. 18. Millard, F. 2005. The Economic Impact of Climate Change on Canadian Commercial Navigation on the Great Lakes. Canadian Water Resources Journal, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp. 269–280. Mineta, N. Y. 2005. Statement of the Honorable Norman Y. Mineta, Secretary of Transportation, before the Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury, Housing, and Urban Development, the Judiciary, District of Columbia, and Independent Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. House of Representatives, Oct. 6.
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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation OFCM. 2002. Weather Information for Surface Transportation: A National Needs Assessment Report (WIST). FCM-R18-2002. Washington, D.C. www.ofcm.gov/wist_report/wist_report.htm. Peterson, T. C., M. McGuirk, T. G. Houston, A. H. Horvitz, and M. F. Wehner. 2006. Climate Variability and Change with Implications for Transportation. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Dec. 6. Plume, J. 2005. Crossroads for Gulfport. Traffic World, Vol. 269, No. 49, Dec. 5, p. 32. Quinn, F. H. 2002. The Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Great Lakes Transportation. In The Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Transportation, Summary and Discussion Papers, Federal Research Partnership Workshop, Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., Oct. 1–2, pp. 115–123. Rossetti, M. A. 2002. Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Railroads. In The Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Transportation, Summary and Discussion Papers, Federal Research Partnership Workshop, Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., Oct. 1–2, pp. 209–221. Rothrock, D. A., and J. Zhang. 2005. Arctic Ocean Sea Ice Volume: What Explains Its Recent Depletion? Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 110, C01002. Soo Hoo, W. K., and M. Sumitani. 2005. Climate Change Will Impact the Seattle Department of Transportation. Office of City Auditor, Aug. 9. Stroeve, J. C., M. C. Serreze, F. Fetterer, T. Arbetter, W. Meier, J. Maslanik, and K. Knowles. 2005. Tracking the Arctic’s Shrinking Ice Cover: Another Extreme September Minimum in 2004. Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 32, L04501. Suarez, P., W. Anderson, V. Mahal, and T. R. Lakshmanan. 2005. Impacts of Flooding and Climate Change on Urban Transportation: A Systemwide Performance Assessment of the Boston Metro Area. Transportation Research D, Vol. 10, pp. 231–244. Titus, J. 2002. Does Sea Level Rise Matter to Transportation Along the Atlantic Coast? In The Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Transportation, Summary and Discussion Papers, Federal Research Partnership Workshop, Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., Oct. 1–2, pp. 135–150. U.S. Arctic Research Commission Permafrost Task Force. 2003. Climate Change, Permafrost, and Impacts on Civil Infrastructure. Special Report 01-03. Arlington, Va., Dec. U.S. Census Bureau. 2005. Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2006 (125th edition). Washington, D.C., Oct. USDOT. 2002. The Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Transportation, Summary and Discussion Papers. Federal Research Partnership Workshop, Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., Oct. 1–2. U.S. Global Change Research Program. 1999. Impacts of Climate Variability and Change in the Pacific Northwest. U.S. National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change. National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration, Office of Global Programs, and JISAO/SMA Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington, Seattle. Warren, L. P. 1993. Scour at Bridges—What’s It All About? Prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Massachusetts Highway Department. Open File Report 93-W0487. ma.water.usgs.gov/publications/ofr/scour.htm. Accessed July 6, 2006.
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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation ANNEX 3-1 Potential Climate Changes and Impacts on Transportation Potential Climate Change Impacts on Land Transportation (Highways, Rail, Pipeline) Impacts on Marine Transportation Impacts on Air Transportation Operations and Interruptions Infrastructure Operations and Interruptions Infrastructure Operations and Interruptions Infrastructure Temperature: increases in very hot days and heat waves Limitations on periods of construction activity due to health and safety concerns; restrictions typically begin at 29.5°C (85°F); heat exhaustion possible at 40.5°C (105°F) Vehicle overheating and tire deterioration Impacts on pavement and concrete construction practices Thermal expansion on bridge expansion joints and paved surfaces Impacts on landscaping in highway and street rights-of-way Concerns regarding pavement integrity, e.g., softening, traffic-related rutting, migration of liquid asphalt; Impacts on shipping due to warmer water in rivers and lakes Delays due to excessive heat Impact on lift-off load limits at high-altitude or hot-weather airports with insufficient runway lengths, resulting in flight cancellations and/or limits on payload (i.e., weight restrictions) More energy consumption on the ground Heat-related weathering and buckling of pavements and concrete facilities Heat-related weathering of vehicle stock
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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation Potential Climate Change Impacts on Land Transportation (Highways, Rail, Pipeline) Impacts on Marine Transportation Impacts on Air Transportation Operations and Interruptions Infrastructure Operations and Interruptions Infrastructure Operations and Interruptions Infrastructure sustained air temperature over 32°C (90°F) is a significant threshold Rail-track deformities; air temperature above 43°C (110°F) can lead to equipment failure Temperature: decreases in very cold days Regional changes in snow and ice removal costs and environmental impacts from salt and chemical use (reduction overall, but increases in some regions) Decreased utility of unimproved roads that rely on frozen ground for passage Less ice accumulation on vessels, decks, riggings, and docks; less ice fog; fewer ice jams in ports Changes in snow and ice removal costs and environmental impacts from salt and chemical use Reduction in need for deicing Fewer limitations on ground crew
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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation Fewer cold-related restrictions for maintenance workers work at airports, typically restricted at wind chills below −29°C (−20°F) Temperature: increases in Arctic temperatures Thawing of permafrost, causing subsidence of roads, rail beds, bridge supports (cave-in), and pipelines Shorter season for ice roads Longer ocean transport season and more ice-free ports in northern regions Possible availability of a Northern Sea Route or a Northwest Passage Thawing of permafrost, undermining runway foundations Temperature: later onset of seasonal freeze and earlier onset of seasonal thaw Changes in seasonal weight restrictions Changes in seasonal fuel requirements Improved mobility and safety associated with a reduction in winter weather Longer construction season Reduced pavement deterioration resulting from less exposure to freezing, snow, and ice, but possibility of more freeze–thaw conditions in some locations Extended shipping season for inland waterways (especially the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes) due to reduced ice coverage
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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation Potential Climate Change Impacts on Land Transportation (Highways, Rail, Pipeline) Impacts on Marine Transportation Impacts on Air Transportation Operations and Interruptions Infrastructure Operations and Interruptions Infrastructure Operations and Interruptions Infrastructure Sea level rise, added to storm surge More frequent interruptions in travel on coastal and low-lying roadways and rail service due to storm surges More severe storm surges, requiring evacuation Inundation of roads and rail lines in coastal areas More frequent or severe flooding of underground tunnels and low-lying infrastructure Erosion of road base and bridge supports Bridge scour Reduced clearance under bridges Loss of coastal wetlands and barrier shoreline Land subsidence More severe storm surges, requiring evacuation Changes in harbor and port facilities to accommodate higher tides and storm surges Reduced clearance under waterway bridges Changes in navigability of channels; some will be more accessible (and farther inland) because of deeper waters, while others will be restricted because of changes in sedimentation rates and shoal locations Potential for closure or restrictions for several of the top 50 airports that lie in coastal zones, affecting service to the highest-density populations in the United States Inundation of airport runways located in coastal areas
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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation Precipitation: increase in intense precipitation events Increases in weather-related delays Increases in traffic disruptions Increased flooding of evacuation routes Disruption of construction activities Changes in rain, snowfall, and seasonal flooding that affect safety and maintenance operations Increases in flooding of roadways, rail lines, and subterranean tunnels Overloading of drainage systems, causing backups and street flooding Increases in road washout, damages to rail bed support structures, and landslides and mudslides that damage roadways and tracks Impacts on soil moisture levels, affecting structural integrity of roads, bridges, and tunnels Adverse impacts of standing water on the road base Increases in weather-related delays Impacts on harbor infrastructure from wave damage and storm surges Changes in underwater surface and silt and debris buildup, which can affect channel depth Increases in delays due to convective weather Storm water runoff that exceeds the capacity of collection systems, causing flooding, delays, and airport closings Implications for emergency evacuation planning, facility maintenance, and safety management Impacts on structural integrity of airport facilities Destruction or disabling of navigation aid instruments Runway and other infrastructure damage due to flooding Inadequate or damaged pavement drainage systems
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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation Potential Climate Change Impacts on Land Transportation (Highways, Rail, Pipeline) Impacts on Marine Transportation Impacts on Air Transportation Operations and Interruptions Infrastructure Operations and Interruptions Infrastructure Operations and Interruptions Infrastructure Increases in scouring of pipeline roadbeds and damages to pipelines Precipitation: increases in drought conditions for some regions Increased susceptibility to wildfires, causing road closures due to fire threat or reduced visibility Increased susceptibility to wildfires that threaten transportation infrastructure directly Increased susceptibility to mudslides in areas deforested by wildfires Impacts on river transportation routes and seasons Decreased visibility for airports located in drought-susceptible areas with potential for increased wildfires Precipitation: changes in seasonal precipitation and river flow patterns Benefits for safety and reduced interruptions if frozen precipitation shifts to Increased risk of floods from runoff, landslides, slope failures, and Periodic channel closings or restrictions if flooding increases Changes in silt deposition leading to reduced depth of some inland waterways and Benefits for safety and reduced interruptions if frozen precipitation shifts to rainfall Inadequate or damaged pavement drainage systems
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Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation rainfall, depending on terrain damage to roads if precipitation changes from snow to rain in winter and spring thaws Benefits for safety and reduced interruptions if frozen precipitation shifts to rainfall impacts on long-term viability of some inland navigation routes Storms: more frequent strong hurricanes (Category 4–5) More debris on roads and rail lines, interrupting travel and shipping More frequent and potentially more extensive emergency evacuations Greater probability of infrastructure failures Increased threat to stability of bridge decks Increased damage to signs, lighting fixtures, and supports Decreased expected lifetime of highways exposed to storm surge Implications for emergency evacuation planning, facility maintenance, and safety management Greater challenge to robustness of infrastructure Damage to harbor infrastructure from waves and storm surges Damage to cranes and other dock and terminal facilities More frequent interruptions in air service Damage to landside facilities (e.g., terminals, navigation aids, fencing around perimeters, signs)