This report provides lessons learned from the most impactful extreme weather events over a six year-year period and identifies how DOTs can become more resilient in anticipating and responding to future events, especially given the realities of a changing climate and the potential for changing storm patterns. The case studies describe lessons learned from the following extreme events: Vermont – Tropical Storm Irene, 2011; Louisiana – 500 and 1,000-Year Flooding Events, 2016; Colorado – Flooding and Rock Falls, 2013/2016; North Carolina – Hurricane Matthew, 2016; Georgia – Atlanta Ice Storm, 2014; Oklahoma – Moore Tornado, 2013; California – Coastal Landslides, 2017; Florida – Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew, 2016. Interview findings from these eight state DOTs and the summarized cross-cutting lessons learned are categorized into three subject areas: planning and design, policies and regulations, and emergency response. Case Studies Link
This peer exchange, held in November 2017, sponsored an assembly of key DOT stakeholders to contribute to an important dialogue on resiliency and assist transportation stakeholders in resolving issues related to extreme weather and sea level rise preparedness, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The meeting also provided practitioners the opportunity to build relationships, share experiences, learn from one another, and hear about the significant work completed over the last few years (independent State DOT studies, the FHWA pilot program, and work on engineering assessments, among others). For more information and materials, link here.
This interactive map of the United States contains links to information on state DOT climate change and energy activities. Links include reports, policies, plans, and research sponsored by the designated state DOT or generated as part of a collaborative effort that involves the state DOT. Information on both greenhouse gas mitigation activities as well as climate adaptation activities is provided. To view the interactive map, link here.
These Extreme Weather 101 briefs provide high-level information on four common extreme weather events: coastal flooding; heat waves; heavy rainfall; and drought, dust storms, and wildfire. Each one-pager includes a brief overview of the event, as well as regional trends and regional projections. They also give examples of how state DOTs and MPOs are effectively responding to these events, and provide links to additional resources for further investigation.
As a follow-up to the 2013 Extreme Weather Events Symposium, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and sponsored by the Center for Environmental Excellence (CEE), presented practitioner-focused updates on the latest research, case studies, and tools pertaining to extreme weather and climate change in 2014 and 2015.
2015 Extreme Weather Sessions
Following up on Extreme Weather Sessions held in 2014, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) continued to share practitioner-focused updates on the latest research, case studies, and tools pertaining to extreme weather and climate change. Information was provided at 2015 committee meetings.
2014 Extreme Weather Sessions
Information was provided at 2014 regional and technical committee meetings across the country.
On May 21-22, 2013, AASHTO held a national symposium, Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Transportation, in Washington, D.C. The symposium was sponsored by AASHTO’s Resilient and Sustainable Transportation Systems Technical Assistance Program, in coordination with the Center for Environmental Excellence by AASHTO and the Federal Highway Administration. The symposium provided an opportunity for DOT staff from a broad range of disciplines to convene and discuss the implications of extreme weather events on transportation. The event covered state DOT case studies related to experiences with extreme weather events; an overview of trends and projections for extreme weather in the United States; costs of extreme weather events; and risk management strategies in design, operations and maintenance, and asset management, and emergency response. Link here for a white paper summary, agenda, and symposium presentations.
On May 20th, 2012, AASHTO hosted a 3-hour workshop titled, Adapting Infrastructure to Extreme Weather Events: Best Practices and Key Challenges. The purpose of the workshop was to provide a forum for information exchange on state transportation agencies’ past experiences and future plans for managing impacts of extreme weather events on transportation infrastructure.
The workshop included the following presentations:
- Caltrans Climate Change Adaptation (Rick Land, Caltrans)
- Washington State DOT’s Vulnerability Assessment: Asking the “Climate Question” (Dave Dye, WSDOT)
- Extreme Weather Impacts on European Networks of Transport (EWENT), (Dr. Pekka Leviäkangas, VTT Technical Research Center of Finland)
- State and Local Infrastructure Adaptation: Lessons Learned from Across the United States (Anne Choate, ICF International)
A webinar describing the workshop was held on June 27, 2012. Link here for webinar presentations and related materials.
On August 5-6, 2010, AASHTO, in coordination with the Center for Environmental Excellence, FHWA, FTA, the Climate Change Technical Assistance Program, the Environmental Technical Assistance Program, and the Standing Committee on Planning, held a Climate Change Symposium in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the symposium was to provide information, both policy-oriented and technical, to support State DOTs in their efforts to address the challenges of climate change. For webinar, presentations and symposium report link here.
This workshop was held in conjunction with the T&DI/ASCE Green Streets & Highways Conference in Denver, Colo. Held on Nov. 17, 2010, the workshop discussed strategies for public agencies to proactively and retroactively adapt infrastructure to the impacts of global climate change. The workshop’s technical focus was targeted at planners, engineers, and environmental scientists from government agencies, consulting, academia, and industry.
- Workshop Facilitators: Rob Kafalenos, FHWA; Caroline Paulsen, AASHTO
- Welcome and Background Information: Butch Wlaschin, FHWA
- State DOT Case Studies: Steven Miller, Massachusetts DOT; Seth Stark, Washington State DOT; Heather Lowe, Maryland DOT; Lars Gregovich, Alaska DOT
- Operations and Maintenance Issues: Gary McVoy, PB Americas
- Data and Research: Rob Kafalenos, FHWA; Mike Meyer, Georgia Transportation Institute
In 2010, AASHTO sponsored climate change workshops for 10 state DOTs: Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Missouri, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and West Virginia. In 2011, an additional 7 workshops were conducted: Arizona, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Vermont. These 17 states were selected from 30 states that applied to AASHTO for a workshop. The workshops were one full day, followed by a 1-2 hour executive session the following day. For more information and links to workshop presentations, link to State DOT Workshops.
Director, Center for Environmental Excellence
Associate Program Manager, Environment & Active Transportation
Program Specialist for Environment