Climate change has already affected the region’s infrastructure assets, causing road closures and damages to the transportation system, water and wastewater utility disruptions, and declines in ecosystem services due to habitat degradation.{{National Climate Assessment, “Transportation,” 2014, http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/sectors/transportation.}} To continue providing essential services, the region’s gray and green infrastructure systems need to be transformed to anticipate further climate changes. Expanding the region’s green infrastructure network is an important element of this strategy. From the large-scale network of protected natural lands to site-scale interventions with a variety of co-benefits, these strategies can protect the region from the effects of climate change through natural functions such as stormwater management and the mitigation of emissions. Furthermore, biodiverse native ecosystems can also better withstand invasive species, disease, flooding, and drought expected of a changing climate.

New technology and gray infrastructure design and materials also have an important role in ensuring climate resilience. Modernization efforts should promote infrastructure that is based on revised design standards that anticipate future climate conditions and built or retrofitted at comfortable levels of risk tolerance. In addition, as road and transit systems modernize and become dependent on advanced technology, reliable electricity and communications infrastructure will become critical to the ability of the transportation system to function under extreme conditions.

Action 1

Review and update design manuals to ensure that current data informs design standards.

Implementers

State and local transportation and water infrastructure agencies

Action 2

Continue research, analysis, and cross-jurisdictional implementation of resilient natural resource strategies.

Implementers

CMAP and partners

Action 3

Promote and/or require native species, habitat restoration, and sustainable landscaping materials and practices, which can achieve multiple regional environmental benefits.

Implementers

Local governments and stewardship groups

Action 4

Determine the vulnerability of transportation infrastructure to climate change impacts and design transportation infrastructure to withstand and adapt to the climate of its intended lifespan.

Implementers

Transportation implementers

Action 5

Incorporate climate resilience criteria into transportation programming processes.

Implementers

CMAP

Action 6

Ensure redundant and reliable electricity and communications infrastructure.

Implementers

Service providers