Study: transit upgrades reduce climate change costs

Posted on December 15, 2009

A new white paper, released on Tuesday, asserts that short-term efforts to increase the transportation system's resilience will reduce long-term costs from climate change and proposes federal policy options for the Obama Administration and Congress to address the impacts of climate change on the transportation sector. 


A significant amount of the nation's roads, rail lines and airports are located in coastal zones most vulnerable to climate change. As the world community gathers at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark to discuss climate mitigation and adaptation strategies, the study highlights needed research on the predicted impacts of climate change on transportation to address this growing problem.


The paper, prepared by Cambridge Systematics Inc. for the Bipartisan Policy Center's National Transportation Policy Project (NTPP), identifies principles and key areas for federal policy action, including climate impacts and adaptation research, transportation planning processes, project development, design and engineering considerations, and federal programs and funding.


The paper proposes three main vehicles for implementing adaptation policy: the anticipated surface transportation authorization, climate and energy legislation, and executive actions.


When the recently expired surface transportation bill is reauthorized, climate adaptation strategies targeted at the federal-aid transportation system should be incorporated. Important strategies include planning requirements for climate adaptation, National Environmental Policy Act-related guidelines and Department of Transportation research recommendations.


The study was funded by The Rockefeller Foundation. Download the study here.


A project of the Bipartisan Policy Center, NTPP was launched with the goal of bringing fresh dialogue and approaches to transportation policy.


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