The Impacts of Climate Change and Urbanization on Non-Motorized Transportation Facilities and Negative Consequences on Lower Income Neighborhoods

Owning a car is expensive. Between the price of the vehicle, financing costs, insurance, license, registration, taxes, maintenance, repair, fuel, and depreciation, owning one —let alone two — can drain a family’s bank account quickly. According to AAA, for vehicles driven 15,000 miles a year, average car ownership costs were $10,728 a year, or $894 a month in 2022. Low-income families who cannot afford to own a car rely on non-motorized transportation facilities to walk and/or bike for their transportation needs. The U.S. Census Bureau reports show that low incomes commute by biking and walking far more than affluent Americans. But, a combination of climate change and Urbanization (the process through which cities grow, and higher and higher percentages of the population come to live in the city) is threatening the integrity of urban infrastructure including non-motorized transportation facilities. The intergovernmental panel for climate change (IPCC) has certified 0.2°C of increase in mean temperature per decade. Non-motorized transportation is considered as not only one of the major mitigation strategies to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions but also as a solution to bring safety, livelihood, and health back to urbanized communities, especially to those who cannot afford owning a vehicle. Urbanization on the other hand, has reduced the ability of land to absorb rainfall through the introduction of hard, impermeable surfaces. This results in an increase in the volume and rate of surface run-off as less water infiltrates into the ground. Urban pluvial flood risk is expected to increase significantly in the future as a result of climate change and demographic shifts: the former is likely to increase the magnitude and frequency of extreme storm events, the driving force of pluvial flooding, while the latter will increase exposure and hence, risk. This proves the importance of identifying facilities that are vulnerable to the effects of climate change and urbanization, in order to start adaptations as early as possible. Walking, trails, and bike routes are the non-motorized transportation facilities that are studied in this research. The distance of inundation (distance of trails and bike routes that will be under water), and the maximum depth of water on affected facilities are estimated using the latest climatological and urban hydrological models. The negative consequences of non-motorized transportation facilities inundation on families who rely on such facilities for their transport needs will be studied.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $100000
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Sustainable Mobility and Accessibility Regional Transportation Equity Research Center

      Morgan State University
      Baltimore, MD  United States 

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Project Managers:

      Niehaus, Joseph

    • Performing Organizations:

      University of Delaware, Newark

      Department of Civil Engineering
      301 DuPont Hall
      Newark, DE  United States  19716
    • Principal Investigators:

      Faghri, Ardeshir

    • Start Date: 20230901
    • Expected Completion Date: 20240901
    • Actual Completion Date: 0
    • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01893867
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Sustainable Mobility and Accessibility Regional Transportation Equity Research Center
    • Contract Numbers: 69A3552348303
    • Files: UTC, RIP
    • Created Date: Sep 21 2023 1:51PM