National Academies Press: OpenBook

Transportation Resilience: Adaptation to Climate Change (2016)

Chapter: Welcome and Introductory Remarks

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Suggested Citation:"Welcome and Introductory Remarks." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Transportation Resilience: Adaptation to Climate Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24648.
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Suggested Citation:"Welcome and Introductory Remarks." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Transportation Resilience: Adaptation to Climate Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24648.
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Suggested Citation:"Welcome and Introductory Remarks." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Transportation Resilience: Adaptation to Climate Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24648.
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1Welcome and Introductory Remarks The symposium welcome featured comments from Clara de la Torre of the European Commission, Directorate General for Research and Innova- tion; Kevin Womack of the U.S. Department of Trans- portation (U.S. DOT), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology; and Neil Pedersen of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Alan McKinnon of Kühne Logistics University and chair of the symposium planning committee provided an over- view of the symposium goals and the program. Clara de la Torre provided a welcome from the Euro- pean Commission, Directorate General for Research and Innovation. She reviewed the EU, U.S. DOT, and TRB partnerships, the goals for the symposium, and the desired outcomes. De la Torre reviewed the EC, U.S. DOT, and TRB partnerships established in 2012 to conduct four sym- posiums addressing common transport challenges. Although each symposium has addressed a different topic, they have all focused on enhancing trans-Atlantic transportation research, communication, and coop- eration. She noted that the symposiums have provided excellent methods for sharing information on critical issues, best practices, and research gaps. She reported that initial promising outcomes from the symposiums have included early learning, expanded networking, and collaborative research opportunities. The symposiums succeeded in fostering greater trans-Atlantic interaction among researches and practitioners. She described the twinning research approach, which includes the EU and the U.S. DOT issuing separate, but compatible, calls for research. The selected researchers are able to meet and collaborate with funding for travel provided as part of the individual projects. De la Torre emphasized the importance of this sympo- sium examining the impact of climate change and extreme weather events on the transport system and approaches to reduce the frequency and severity of related disrup- tions. She noted that the symposium included sharing information, discussing issues, and identifying trans- Atlantic research opportunities. She invited participants to adopt a cross-modal perspective on the adaptation of transport infrastructure and operations to changing climatic conditions. She reported that exploring public- and private-sector responses to weather-induced disrup- tions was important, as was discussing needed research and innovation to support climate adaptation in the transport sector. De la Torre stressed that a major goal of the sym- posium was to foster trans-Atlantic collaboration in research and development across a wide range of disci- plines, including transport planning, engineering, design, operations, finance, economics, insurance, risk assess- ment, risk balance management, public outreach, and public policy. Key activities for the symposium included reviewing the current state of research in transport adap- tation, identifying research gaps and hot topics, and discussing methods to stimulate future research innova- tion. She noted that the symposium results will be used to inform future research agendas, foster trans-Atlantic

2 t r a n s p o r t a t i o n r e s i l i e n c e collaboration, and promote cross-disciplinary research. She stressed the importance of increasing the relevancy and the impact of research, as well as identifying take-up measures for trans-Atlantic technology deployment. She challenged participants to engage in frank discussions, to learn from others, and to enjoy the symposium. Kevin Womack provided a welcome from the U.S. DOT Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Tech- nology. He recognized and thanked the other sponsoring agencies, the planning committee, and the white paper authors. He noted the benefits from previous sympo- siums and stressed the importance of identifying oppor- tunities for ongoing research collaboration. Womack expressed appreciation to the EU for host- ing the symposium. He extended greetings from U.S. DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx and Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology Greg Winfree. He thanked Alan McKinnon, chair; Dick Wright, cochair; and mem- bers of the planning committee for organizing an excel- lent program for the symposium. He also recognized white paper authors Gerry Schwartz and Lori Tavasszy. Womack noted that examining transportation resil- ience and climate change and extreme weather events is an important and timely endeavor. The June 2016 flood- ing in Paris; Houston, Texas; and southern Oklahoma provided the most recent examples of extreme weather events. These events damaged the transportation infra- structure and resulted in fatalities. Womack reported that the three previous sympo- siums were very successful in generating opportunities for additional trans-Atlantic research collaboration. He thanked participants for taking the time to attend the symposium. He challenged participants to engage in the breakout group discussions and to share their expe- riences and ideas for research. He also noted that the symposium provided an excellent opportunity for net- working, developing new contacts, and initiating poten- tial research collaborations. Neil Pedersen provided a welcome from TRB and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medi- cine. He thanked the EU and U.S. DOT personnel, the planning committee members, and participants. He highlighted the importance of the symposium topic to TRB and discussed his experience at the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) in dealing with extreme weather events. Pedersen thanked the EU for hosting the symposium in Brussels and noted that TRB was pleased to provide support for the four EU–U.S. symposiums. He acknowl- edged the hard work of the planning committee and recognized the chair, cochair, white paper authors, and scenario authors. He thanked Monica Starnes of TRB and Frank Smit of the European Commission for their assistance in organizing the symposium. He noted that Starnes was moving to a new position at TRB, where she would be working on a major policy study on the future of the Interstate Highway System, and that resil- ience would be one of the topics examined in the study. Pedersen noted that resilience was one of three stra- tegic issues identified by the TRB Executive Commit- tee. The symposium results will help guide key research issues and potential trans-Atlantic cooperation. He com- mented that resilience has been an important topic at TRB since the 9/11 terrorist attacks and that what began as a focus on security has expanded to a more holistic approach. He noted that Vicki Arroyo and Katie Turn- bull are members of the TRB Executive Committee and would be providing a summary of the symposium at the Executive Committee the following week in June 2016. Pedersen discussed the global interest in the impact of climate change and extreme weather events on transpor- tation resilience. The symposium provides the oppor- tunity to think holistically, examine common issues, and advance the state of knowledge and the state of the practice. Pedersen shared some of his experience with extreme weather events when he was Director of the Maryland SHA. The state experienced its single largest recorded snowfall during the Presidents’ Day blizzard of 2003. The snow caused significant disruptions for the road, rail, transit, and air systems in the state. There had not been a major snowstorm in the previous 10 years. A year later, a hurricane caused extensive flooding in the state. The following year the state experienced record high temperatures, with the heat causing rail tracks to warp and resulting in a major commuter rail crash. He noted that speed reductions were instituted for the rail system. Pedersen commented that these extreme weather events affected all the transport modes in the state— road, transit, rail, air, and water. He noted that SHA sought information and guidance for addressing the issues encountered from these events. He commented that the agency did not have the resources to respond to all needs. As a result, SHA recognized that a risk-based approach for making intelligent decisions to keep the system operational, or return it to operation as soon as possible, was needed. This approach has been expanded to include risk-based asset management, which is now recognized in federal legislation. He suggested that dis- cussion of risk-based asset management in the breakout groups would be beneficial. Pedersen reported that the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has established a Committee on Resilience and Sustain- ability. He noted that this symposium was discussed at the committee’s spring meeting and that committee mem- bers expressed interest in the outcomes related to best practice guidance and ideas for beneficial research. He

3w e l c o m e a n d i n t r o d u c t o r y r e m a r k s further noted that state departments of transportation are involved in selecting projects for the National Coopera- tive Highway Research Program. He suggested that the symposium results will be of help to AASHTO and TRB committees in developing research problem statements. Alan McKinnon provided a welcome from the sympo- sium planning committee. He thanked members of the committee for their hard work organizing the sympo- sium and reviewed the symposium goals and program. He recognized Dick Wright, University of Maryland, who served as cochair of the planning committee. McKinnon reviewed the goals of the symposium iden- tified by the planning committee. These goals included reviewing the current state of research in the field and identifying research gaps and hot topics. A second goal focused on stimulating more research, including address- ing the mitigation and adaptation imbalance. Other sym- posium goals included suggesting research for adaptation studies, fostering trans-Atlantic research collaboration, promoting cross-disciplinary research to break down subject silos, and increasing the relevance and impact of research through expanded practitioner engagement. McKinnon discussed the importance of the sympo- sium topic in addressing the impact of climate change and extreme weather events on the transport system. He noted the interest on the part of both researchers and practitioners. He commented that approximately 80% of the participants at the first symposium were from academic institutions, whereas 80% of the participants at this symposium were practitioners from a range of public- and private-sector organizations. McKinnon reported that symposium participants came from across the United States and 13 European countries. All transport modes—roads, railroads, public transit, aviation, ports, inland waterways, and shipping— were represented. Further, he noted that participants had expertise in a broad range of subjects, including climate science, civil engineering, transport planning, logistics, infrastructure design, construction, operations, mainte- nance, and management. Other disciplines represented were decision theory, risk analysis, economics, insur- ance, public policy, hydrology, and coastal protection. McKinnon reviewed the symposium scope, which focused on the nature of the risk of climate change and extreme weather events and the nature and extent of the impacts on all transport modes. The scope covered the potential impacts in short-, medium-, and long-term time frames, as well as on urban, interurban, regional, and national geographies. He noted that the types of extreme weather events included excess rainfall and flooding, extreme heat and drought, hurricanes and storms, and sea level rise. He also noted that the impacts of these events on the transport infrastructure, other critical infrastructures, and transport operations would be addressed in the symposium, as would possible socioeco- nomic impacts. He commented that participants would have the opportunity to discuss conceptual and analyti- cal frameworks, methodologies, technologies, and gov- ernance structures. He reported that the results of the symposium discussions would assist in developing and refining research agendas on these topics, including proj- ects appropriate for trans-Atlantic collaboration. McKinnon reviewed the symposium format. After the opening welcome session, Jan Hendrik Dronkers of the Rijkswaterstaat and Donald Wuebbles of the Uni- versity of Illinois, currently on assignment to the Execu- tive Office of the President of the United States, would provide keynote addresses. Lori Tavasszy of the Delft University of Technology would summarize the white paper prepared for the symposium. McKinnon explained that the planning committee had decided to organize the breakout session discussions around the three phases of preparing for climate impact, minimizing transport dis- ruptions during an extreme weather event, and recover- ing from these disruptions. McKinnon reported that members of the planning committee developed scenarios for each phase based on a different type of extreme weather event. The first sce- nario focused on preparing the transport system for sea level rise, and the second examined the management of disruptions to the transport system during abnormal pre- cipitation and flooding. The third scenario considered how a transport system would recover from extreme heat and drought conditions. Members of the planning committee would present the scenarios and facilitate dis- cussions in the breakout groups. The rapporteurs in each breakout group would provide a summary report to the full group about the main topics discussed. The closing session would feature a panel discussion with comments from symposium sponsors and participants. In closing, McKinnon encouraged participants to actively engage in the discussions and to share their experiences, ideas, and suggestions for research.

Next: Keynote Presentation 1Resilient Transport System: An Ongoingand Multistakeholder Responsibility »
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Transportation Resilience: Adaptation to Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events summarizes a symposium held June 16–17, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. The fourth annual symposium promotes common understanding, efficiencies, and trans-Atlantic cooperation within the international transportation research community while accelerating transport-sector innovation in the European Union (EU) and the United States.

The two-day, invitation-only symposium brought together high-level experts to share their views on disruptions to the transportation system resulting from climate change and extreme weather events. With the goal of fostering trans-Atlantic collaboration in research and deployment, symposium participants discussed the technical, financial, and policy challenges to better plan, design, and operate the transportation network before, during, and after extreme and/or long-term climate events.

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