The Department of Transportation has a long-term commitment to make climate change and variability part of its planning and infrastructure management process.
“Building resilience to climate and weather-related risk is common sense management to protect current and future investments and to maintain safe operational capabilities,” the department says in its Climate Adaptation Plan.
The global climate is changing and the changes will continue and perhaps accelerate, leading to greater volatility in weather, DOT said, citing findings by the U.S. Global Change Research Program.
Among the possible impacts: more frequent and severe flooding, more heat waves that will affect bridges and roadways leading to higher maintenance costs, and increased safety risks due to adverse weather.
A recent example was the 2007 shutdown of the New York City subway system due to a storm surge that flooded the lower end of Manhattan.
The department said it intends to take these concerns into account when it makes infrastructure investments. It also will consider them when it makes decisions about management of existing infrastructure, and will provide tools to help states and local governments plan their projects.
For the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, this means that grant applications for, say, altering existing infrastructure require consideration of climate-related risks.