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Criterion Details

SP-16 Infrastructure Resiliency

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Goal

Anticipate, assess, and plan to respond to vulnerabilities and risks associated with current and future hazards (including those associated with climate change) to ensure multi-modal transportation system reliability and resiliency.

Sustainability Linkage

Triple Bottom Line

Planning for infrastructure resiliency in the face of potential hazards supports all of the triple bottom line principles by reducing spending on infrastructure replacement, improving the safety and security of multimodal transportation system users, and providing energy savings from long-lasting investments, among others.

Background & Scoring Requirements

Background

This criterion complements and expands on the requirements discussed in SP-15: Linking Asset Management and Planning.

Helpful online references and tools for this criterion include FHWA’s climate adaptation page and FHWA’s vulnerability assessment framework, at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/climate_change/adaptation/ and http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/climate_change/adaptation/publications_and_tools/vulnerability_assessment_framework/ (note that more direct links will be available by Version 1.2 update).

For the purposes of this criterion, the key terms below are defined as follows:

  • Hazards” are conditions or circumstances that may result in undesirable outcomes. Natural hazards may include seismic and extreme weather events, and/or the effects of climate variability and change. Man-made hazards may include security threats or structural failures from terrorism.
  • Extreme weather events” refers to flooding, hurricanes, fires, tsunamis, droughts, and winter storms, for example.
  • Climate variability and change” refers to long-term variations in climate, such as changes in sea level, temperature, precipitation intensity, and coastal storms, among others. While sea level rise primarily affects coastal regions, changes in the frequency and intensity of warm/cold weather days, precipitation events (flooding/droughts), and storms can affect infrastructure throughout the United States.
  • Vulnerability” in this context refers to the degree to which transportation infrastructure can be adversely affected by various hazards.
  • Vulnerability Assessment” is an assessment of the potential consequences of hazards on the durability and performance of specific transportation infrastructure (e.g., inundation of roads and enhanced scour of structures).
  • Risk” is the potential for an unwanted outcome resulting from an event—in this case, a climate stressor or other hazard. It is determined by the product of (a) the likelihood of the impact, and (b) the consequence of the impact.
  • Risk Assessment” is an assessment of the likelihood and potential consequences of exposure to a hazard.  

Scoring Requirements

Requirement SP-16.1

1-2 points. Hazard Identification

Scoring is based on the following, cumulative elements. The first element must be accomplished to earn the second.

  • Requirement SP-16.1a

1 point. Conduct System-Level Assessment of Potential Hazards

The agency has conducted a system-level assessment of potential hazards such as seismic events, relative sea level rise, storm activity/intensity, temperature and heat waves, precipitation events, lake levels, stream flow, etc.

  • Requirement SP-16.1b

1 additional point. Identify Locations Potentially Vulnerable or At-Risk

The agency has identified locations potentially vulnerable and/or at risk as a result of current and future hazards, and includes a discussion of the potential implications on the transportation system in the LRTP, or other appropriate transportation planning document.

Requirement SP-16.2

2 or 4 points. Vulnerability Assessment

A vulnerability assessment focuses on how existing or planned transportation facilities may fare given current and future hazards. A vulnerability assessment should cover transportation assets in the planning area or a substantial subset of that area, as appropriate. Asset data on key existing and planned assets should be used. This could include elevations of the assets (not just the land), drainage capabilities, types of pavements and their ability to withstand excessive heat, more intense freeze-thaw cycles, and a variety of stress factors through time.

Investigating past events and resulting impacts can inform the assessment of vulnerabilities to seismic and storm events, and the impacts of long-term climate change effects. By comparing historical events with historical maintenance and repair needs, agencies can estimate how well specific assets might withstand certain stressors. For example, agencies could consider effects of past weather events on emergency response and evacuations required or on the services provided by an asset (e.g., changes in VMT and/or the value of goods transported).

One of the following scores applies:

  • 0 points. The agency has not conducted a GIS-based vulnerability assessment of its assets.
  • 2 points. The agency has conducted a GIS-Based vulnerability assessment and considered hazard consequences for some of its planned, programmed, and existing facilities throughout the transportation system.
  • 4 points. The agency has conducted a GIS-based vulnerability assessment and considered hazard consequences on all planned, programmed, and existing facilities throughout the transportation system.

Requirment SP-16.3

2 or 4 points. Risk Assessment

A risk assessment is a method for estimating the likelihood of a particular impact resulting from a defined set of stressors, including climate change related impacts, and also assesses the consequences of the impact in terms of how it affects the surrounding community, metropolitan area, or state.

One of the following scores applies:

  • 0 points. The agency has not conducted a risk assessment of its assets.
  • 2 points. The agency has conducted a risk assessment for some of its planned, programmed, and existing facilities throughout the transportation system.
  • 4 points. The agency has conducted a risk assessment and considered the consequences on all planned, programmed, and existing facilities throughout the transportation system.

Requirement SP-16.4

2 or 5 points. Develop and Implement Adaptation Strategies

Adaption strategies are actions taken to respond to the vulnerabilities and risks associated with current and future hazards (including those associated with climate change) to ensure transportation system reliability and resiliency. Examples of strategies include, but are not limited to the relocation of critical infrastructure, evacuation route planning, and disaster preparedness programs, among others. Additional examples are available on the USDOT website website at http://climate.dot.gov/impacts-adaptations/index.html and in TRB Transportation Research E-Circular E-C152 at http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/circulars/ec152.pdf. This requirement may be scored in proportion to the agency’s estimate of its progress toward meeting this requirement.

One of the following scores applies:

  • 0 points. The agency has not developed adaptation strategies.
  • 2 points. The agency has developed, but not yet implemented, adaptation strategies to manage the impacts the agency can reasonably expect to occur.
  • 5 points. The agency has developed and is implementing adaptation strategies to manage all of the impacts the agency can reasonably expect to occur based on its completed vulnerability and risk assessments. 

Case Studies & Criterion Examples

NCTCOG - Using INVEST to Advance Performance Measurement and Improve Long-Range Planning : The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) is the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) serving the 12-county, 9,400 square mile region encompassing the Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area, one of the fastest growing urban regions in the nation. NCTCOG first used INVEST in 2012 to assess its adopted long-range transportation plan (LRTP), Mobility 2035, using the System Planning (SP) module. More recently, the agency rescored Mobility 2035 with INVEST Version 1.0 to create a baseline with which to compare and inform NCTCOG’s next LRTP, Mobility 2040.

Transportation Agency for Monterey County - Evaluating and Enhancing Sustainable Transportation: Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC) is the regional transportation planning agency for Monterey County, California, responsible for developing and updating a long-range vision of the regional transportation system. TAMC used the INVEST System Planning for Regions (SPR) module to review a broad spectrum of its planning efforts – including its 2014 Regional Transportation Plan – and evaluate how well-defined and comprehensive its sustainability efforts have been.

Scoring Sources

The project is considered to have met this criterion if the requirements above can be reasonably substantiated through the existence of one of the following documentation sources (or equal where not available):

  1. Transportation planning document(s) that contain evidence of the consideration of hazard identification, vulnerability assessment, risk assessment, and/or adaptation strategies.
  2. Hazard Mitigation Plan(s)
  3. Documentation of a vulnerability assessment of critical transportation infrastructure. This could include studies on vulnerability of specific areas.
  4. Documentation of a risk assessment of critical infrastructure. This should address the process used, an assessment of likelihood, and resulting assessment of risk.