Climate change effects on transportation infrastructure

Yao Jan Wu, Tanveer Hayat, Andres Clarens, Brian Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The potential effects of climate change on transportation infrastructure have been receiving attention in recent years. An especially useful and increasingly common approach to investigating the potential effects of climate change on infrastructure is the use of geographic information systems (GISs) for risk analysis because climate change effects are likely to occur in conjunction with other geographically specific impacts such as storm surge and traffic operations, whose vulnerability can be most effectively quantified with GIS-based tools. To demonstrate the efficacy of these tools, a scenario-based risk analysis approach is presented: it investigates the effects of climate change on transportation infrastructure in Hampton Roads, Virginia. First, climate change effects in the study site are investigated to develop representative climate change scenarios. Then, a GIS-based evaluation of transportation infrastructure vulnerability to sea level rise and storm surge is formed by combining the GIS data set with results from the Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricanes (SLOSH) model. Finally, the proposed risk model generates a GIS-based risk map under three scenarios of climate change threat. Results indicate that the city of Virginia Beach, Virginia, is at high risk in all three scenarios because of climate change events, a high level of transportation activity, and density of transportation facilities. The risk map - a visualization of the risk model - can assist transportation planners and decision makers with prioritizing assets to allocate resources for emergency preparation and response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-81
Number of pages11
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number2375
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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