Climate Adaptation in Transportation Using TRB’s Critical Topics

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Climate Adaptation in Transportation Using TRB’s Critical Topics

Our previous blog post “Climate Change and Critical Issues in Transportation,” talks about the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) important role in transportation research in the United States, particularly in advancing resilience in transportation systems and infrastructures. It also mentions how climate change and resilience strategy programs are being integrated into the federal, states, and local policies and decision-making. The state and cities are leading the way in the current work being done on resilience.

In this blog post, we are sharing TRB’s report, “Critical Issues in Transportation 2019, Policy Snapshot,” which policymakers and decision-makers can use as a resource for discussing similar challenges in the local context.

It presents the issues in 12 topics that the transportation sector faces. Each topic hopes to elicit questions to stimulate conversations and debate among policymakers and citizens, to guide and prepare them for the change and challenges during the next 5-10 years.

Although the report is for the United States context, the information and guide questions can be also applied to countries and cities facing the same transportation challenges and issues arising from changes in climate, society, and technology.

These important transportation issues are covered by the following topics:

  • Technological advances in transportation and how it will transform societies;  
  • Transport networks in a growing and shifting population;
  • Energy and sustainability that touches on shifting from fossil-fuel to renewables;  
  • Building resilience on to transport infrastructure, adapting to climate change and other threats and ensuring transportation security amidst technological advances;  
  • Safety of transportation networks, protecting the public’s health from transport pollution and from pollution-causing diseases;  
  • Transportation equity in serving the disadvantaged and providing affordable access to work, healthcare, and other services;
  • Governance and managing complex transportation networks while providing multi-modal options for society;
  • Improving the performance of transportation networks especially in the face of growing demands for travel and transportation networks;
  • Funding and finance of major transportation systems, investing in assets, and identifying the best funding options;
  • Growing demands for freight and building infrastructure capacity, and setting user fees;
  • Government challenges in retaining talented workers amidst tight budgets and dealing with technological changes in transportation jobs, and attracting racial diversity into the workforce;
  • Continuous funding for research and innovation to meet new demands from climate change, technology advancements, and population.

The report concluded that modern civilization is dependent on reliable transportation and impacts of technological advancement on society and the environment must be managed well.  

At the same time the transportation sector is faced with the challenges of reducing GHG emissions, and making its infrastructure assets more resilient, safe and efficient and equitable and these come at a high cost.

The critical issues that the TRB framed are important bases for discussing issues that the transportation sector needs to consider and address in the next few years. Hopefully, climate change adaptation and mitigation ideas will be integrated in the discussions and policy-making.

You may read the full report by clicking on the button below:

Source citation:

Critical Issues in Transportation 2019, Policy Snapshot. (2019). The National Academies. Transportation Research Board. Retrieved from http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/policystudies/criticalissuesbrochure.pdf

BACKGROUND PHOTO CREDIT: Karl Hipolito

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