Climate Change Adaptation Practices: A Pilot Study Evaluating Transportation Agency Progress

By Michelle Oswald Beiler and Sue McNeil.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The risk of economic, environmental and social impacts due to climate change continues to rise. Currently, most of the focus in the area of transportation and climate change has been on mitigation strategies to reduce emissions and the resulting impact to the environment. Despite these mitigation strategies, the cumulative concentration of greenhouse gas emissions currently in the atmosphere, the time lag between implementing the strategies and the mitigation actions taking effect, and climate-related changes in temperature, precipitation, and sea level rise could result in significant impacts on transportation systems. This study examines current practices of Metropolitan and Rural Planning Organizations in the Mid-Atlantic region through a preliminary survey of adaptation practices. The primary objective of the survey of agency adaptation practices is to identify existing agency progress and behavior with regards to climate change adaptation. A secondary objective is to benchmark progress and provide guidance and recommendations for future efforts. Initial results show that budget and regulatory constraints encourage local adaptation efforts that support mitigation rather than long term vulnerability assessments that require multi-jurisdictional support and expertise. By identifying current progress and priorities, this study serves as the foundation for developing a strategic approach to determining the state of the practice of adaptation planning across transportation agencies throughout the country.

Keywords: Adaptation, Transportation, Planning

The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp.119-132. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 963.293KB).

Dr. Michelle Oswald Beiler

Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA, USA

Michelle Oswald, a LEED AP and EIT, is an Assistant Professor in civil and environmental engineering at Bucknell University. She has completed her doctoral degree in civil engineering with a concentration in transportation engineering at the University of Delaware. She has also completed a Master of Arts in urban and regional planning as well as a Master in Civil Engineering at the University of Delaware, specializing in sustainable transportation planning. She received a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Lafayette College. Her research is focused on sustainable transportation rating systems, climate change adaptation, and resilient transportation corridors.

Dr. Sue McNeil

Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, USA


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