Climate Resilience and Benefit Cost Analysis--A Handbook for Airports

There is an increasing emphasis among transportation infrastructure providers to ensure that new capital investments and improvements are resilient to impacts from climate change and extreme weather events; however, methods and procedures for maximizing resilience from new investments in a cost-effective manner are not well documented. The benefits of resilient infrastructure accrue across the lifetime of an asset but are most typically measured as potential losses avoided rather than revenues gained. Given that assertion, Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA) is a potentially useful method for balancing gradually realized, unconventional, and risk dependent benefits with upfront financial costs of adaptation investments. If appropriately applied, BCA can help airport administrators better understand and demonstrate the tradeoffs of investing in climate adaptation measures in the context of recognized uncertainties. There are, however, significant, unique challenges to conducting climate risk-enhanced BCAs in the airport context. These challenges include the diversity of available funding and financing mechanisms as well as specific climate-related risks facing a given facility. These challenges also include how to address quantifiable versus hard-to-quantify benefits and costs when evaluating alternative investment strategies. Airport conditions reflect the individual characteristics of an airport, and the issues an airport faces with respect to climate resiliency are affected by that particular context. Methods to identify and apply evaluation techniques that can incorporate unique airport conditions or characteristics would be useful in establishing a procedure for effective investment evaluation. The objective of this research was to develop a BCA handbook for airport infrastructure projects designed to improve resilience to long-term impacts of climate change and extreme weather events. This research should recognize, enhance, and adapt insights and procedures identified from related research currently available or under development affecting both airports and other infrastructure projects. The product of this research is designed to provide guidance to airport technical staff as well as administrators (including necessary tools and techniques) that is designed to improve the process by which infrastructure investment strategies are evaluated in the context of ensuring climate-related resiliency. It also includes procedures for presenting assumptions and results transparently, and for implementing the process.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $449995
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 02-78

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591
  • Project Managers:

    Goldstein, Lawrence

  • Performing Organizations:

    GRA Incorporated

  • Principal Investigators:

    Berardino, Frank

  • Start Date: 20170511
  • Expected Completion Date: 20181214
  • Actual Completion Date: 20181214
  • Source Data: RiP Project 40986

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01606905
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 02-78
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Jul 30 2016 1:01AM