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New report finds transportation infrastructure vulnerable to changing and severe weather

| 03.12.2008 | 09:50:398050 |
March 12 '08: The Associated Press reported a new study released by the National Academies which found that "Climate change will affect transportation primarily through increases in several types of weather and climate extremes," and that federal, state and local governments should "incorporate climate change into their long-term capital improvement plans ... and emergency response plans."
The report focused on five main areas which they said posed the greatest threat to transportation and infrastructure: increased heat waves putting stress on bridge joints and railroad tracks through thermal expansion; rising sea levels and storm surges damaging coastal roadways, airports, evacuation routes and tunnels; heavier rainstorms delaying air and ground traffic; stronger and more frequent hurricanes; and thawing permafrost resulting in pipeline, railroad and roadway failures, the AP continued.

A Summary of the report said that cooperation among transportation officials with their public/private counterparts and other stakeholders is essential "to identify whether, when, and where projected climate changes in particular regions might be consequential. ... Projected increases in weather and climate extremes underscore the importance of emergency response plans in vulnerable locations," the summary said.

"Climate extremes," the summary continued, "will require near-term operational responses from transportation providers and greater attention to emergency response in transportation operations and budgets."

Addressing some of the same topics, the National League of Cities held a conference in New York last October highlighting the challenges facing communities and cities regarding greater response capability, resiliency and sustainability. And earlier this year, a coalition of more than 250 American cities released a report underscoring the need to develop sustainable and resilient emergency and disaster response plans in the face of climate change.

National Blueprint Tags: Economic & Infrastructure, Citizen & Community, Legal & Intergovernmental, Transportation & Logistics.