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Transportation and Climate Change Clearinghouse

Adaptation Planning (case studies)

Adaptation planning involves responding to the impacts of climate change, both proactively and reactively. Adaptation planning can include preventative measures to slow down the progression of climate change and mitigation measures to reduce the effects. This section provides resources about approaches to planning for expected changes caused by climate change.


2014 DOT Climate Adaptation Plan
United States Department of Transportation
Pursuant to Executive Orders No. 13514 and 13653, as well as Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Implementing Instructions, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is required to submit a Climate Adaptation Plan. DOT’s work on climate adaptation began with the understanding that climate impacts will affect DOT’s strategic goals of safety, state of good repair and environmental sustainability. This plan is an update from the 2012 DOT Climate Adaptation Plan, which includes the new requirements of E.O. 13653 and guidance from CEQ. It reflects FY2013 and FY2014 commitments as well as other DOT accomplishments.
2012 DOT Climate Adaptation Plan (PDF 611kb)
United States Department of Transportation
The U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is inviting the public to comment on its first Departmental Climate Adaptation Plan. The Adaptation Plan was prepared under Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, and Council on Environmental Quality Implementing instructions, and lays out concrete steps the Department will take to fully integrate considerations of climate change and variability in DOT policies, programs and operations. Potential climate impacts can influence DOT's strategic goals of safety, state of good repair and environmental sustainability, and are therefore of particular interest to the Department. The DOT Climate Adaptation Plan reflects DOT's commitments for Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013 and other DOT accomplishments. The public can access this document electronically through (;D=DOT-OST-2013-0023 ).

Comments received on the FY 2012-2013 plan will assist the Department as it updates the Climate Adaptation Plan to reflect recent events, legislation and DOT activities related to assessing and responding to vulnerabilities to climate variability and change.

Interested persons are invited to submit written comments to docket number DOT-OST-2013-0023 not later than 11:59 pm E.T. April 30, 2013. Please mail or hand deliver comments to the Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590; submit electronically at; or fax comments to (202) 493-2251. All comments should include the docket number DOT-OST-2013-0023. All comments received will be available for examination and copying at the above address from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., E.T, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Those desiring notification of receipt of comments must include a self-addressed, stamped postcard or may print the acknowledgment page that appears after submitting comments electronically. Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments in any one of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, or labor union). You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477), or you may visit

For further information on the Climate Adaptation Plan, please contact Alexandra Tyson by telephone at 202 366-1361 or by email at mailto:
Adaptation of the Transportation System to the Impacts of Climate Change: Results of a Peer Exchange - December 2008 (April 2009) (PDF 900kb)
United States Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration
Adaptation Planning - What U.S. States and Localities are Doing (2008) (PDF 549kb)
Pew Center on Global Climate Change
This report briefly covers the adaptation planning efforts being taken on by state or local governments. It shows that several areas have or plan on producing adaptation plans to address transportation issues.
Climate Change 101: Understanding and Responding to Global Climate Change Reports
PEW Center on Global Climate Change
This series of brief reports provide a reliable and understandable introduction to climate change and cover several topics, including climate science and impacts, technological solutions, governmental actions, and adaptation planning.
Climate Change - Health and Environmental Effects - Adaptation
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
This page provides general information on human adaptation to climate change impacts and briefly covers adaptation strategies in several sectors.
Climate Change and Marine Transportation Activity (2009)
Ridout, John Stuart; Dunning, Anne E., Transportation Research Board
Global climate change has the potential to alter the environment as well as the ways humans interact with it. Specifically, scientists can quickly imagine the effects of global warming in the ocean environment from polar ice melt, but a secondary impact will be how humans adapt to this changed world. Ice clearance will lead to navigable Arctic waterways and potentially stable seasonal polar shipping routes. Increased shipping routes will alter or increase global shipping activity. Existing port activity will increase to meet new economic demands, but much of that activity will be concentrated outside Arctic waters. The changes will also affect the ecosystems of these ports. Consequently, changes to shipping patterns have far-reaching effects beyond the ports themselves. The objectives of this study were to identify a likely growth scenario of future U.S. maritime trade when an Arctic route becomes feasible and to pose a range of activity changes based on polar routes.
Design Standards for U.S. Transportation Infrastructure: The Implications of Climate Change (PDF 192kb)
Georgia Institute of Technology
This paper first presents the origin and use of design standards and guidance and then assess how robust and flexible those engineering design practices are to incorporating climate-induced changes.
Flooded Bus Barns and Buckled Rails: Public Transportation and Climate Change Adaptation
This report examines projected climate impacts on U.S. transit, climate change adaptation efforts by domestic and foreign transit agencies, transit adaptation strategies, risk management tools, and incorporation of adaptation into transit agency organizational structures and processes.
Impacts of Climate Change and Variability on Transportation Systems and Infrastructure: The Gulf Coast Study
To better understand potential climate change impacts on transportation infrastructure and identify adaptation strategies, the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) is conducting a comprehensive, multi-phase study of climate change impacts in the Central Gulf Coast region. This region is home to a complex multimodal network of transportation infrastructure and several large population centers, and it plays a critical national economic role in the import and export of oil and gas, agricultural products, and other goods. The study is sponsored by the U.S. DOT's Center for Climate Change and Environmental Forecasting in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is managed by FHWA.
Northwest Territories Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Report (2008) (PDF 2.87mb)
Northwest Territories, Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources. Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada
This report describes the impacts and future implications of climate change on the Northwest Territories of northern Canada and the actions that territorial government (equivalent to state) departments are taking to respond to the effects.
Preparing For Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local, Regional, and State Governments (PDF 5.6mb)
The Climate Impacts Group and King County, Washington
Preparing for Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local, Regional, and State Governments (2007)
Climate Impacts Group
This document helps decision-makers in local, regional, or state government prepare for climate change by recommending a detailed, easy-to-understand process for climate change preparedness.
Revised Research Plan for the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (2008) (PDF 3.67mb)
US Climate Change Science Program
This revised plan is an update to the 2003 Strategic Plan released by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and focuses on near-term planning needs and addresses research plans for 2008 to 2010. The plan uses the program's 5 strategic goals as an organizing framework to provide a goal-by-goal overview of emerging research questions and themes, key research topics, and illustrative research plans.
The Role of Coastal Zone Management Programs in Adaptation to Climate Change (2008) (PDF 732kb)
Coastal States Organization
This report is the second annual report on this topic to further explore the current and future roles of state coastal zone management programs in addressing climate change. The 2007 report, which remains the most comprehensive assessment of the various states' coastal program's climate change initiatives as well as the statement of national policy needs is attached as Appendix B to the 2008 report.
Solutions and Human Adaptation
University of California, Davis
This page provides some questions and answers relating to human adaptation to climate change, particularly relating to the transportation sector.
What is Being Done in Northern Climates? Climate Change: Challenge for Norwegian Roads (2009)
Gordana Petkovic and Jan Otto Larsen
This short paper offers some preliminary information about the work on adaptation to climate change currently being carried out by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration.

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