Design Guidance and Standards for Resilience

Extreme weather affects every state in the U.S. and hundreds of such events occur each year (e.g., hurricanes, droughts, heat waves, convective storms, floods, wildfires), leading to billions of dollars in asset damage, casualties, and community disruption. Sea levels, temperatures, and precipitation patterns are expected to deviate from the historic record, trending towards increases in extreme weather event frequency and severity. These are expected to stress transportation systems in many ways, increasing the risk of delays, disruptions, damage, casualties, and failure across our land, air and marine transportation systems. Many current permit requirements, design standards, and guidance do not account for extreme weather, future temperatures, changing precipitation, sea level rise, or other impacts from climate change. Infrastructure design needs to account for these conditions to cost-effectively minimize damage, disruptions, and failures. Translating climate projections and corresponding extreme weather into information applicable to engineers for project-level design and specifications is complex. There are many locations around the country where state and local agencies (e.g., Arizona DOT, Colorado DOT, Delaware DOT, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Genesee Transportation Council) have made incremental innovations in developing resilient infrastructure for the future. However, additional tools are still needed to support the system-wide change that helps support a cost-effective, safe, and high functioning transportation system. The research will identify state and national regulations, design standards, and guidance that are most at risk from extreme weather and climate change. The research will also develop tools and guidance to help state DOTs evaluate and balance the potential costs and benefits of incorporating updated guidance/standard that account for climate change into their project development process. The FHWA Transportation Engineering Approaches to Climate Resiliency (TEACR) initiative summarizes activities related to this topic and has background on a range of engineering disciplines to help integrate climate considerations into transportation project development. Topics include: (1) why, where, and how to integrate climate considerations into the project development process, (2) practical information in related disciplines such as climate science and economics, and (3) lessons learned from project-level studies of engineering adaptation options. Current design criteria for building and retrofitting transportation infrastructure are generally developed with an implicit assumption that the climate conditions under which the asset needs to perform will remain static over the design life. The objective of this project is to build on the foundation of the TEACR study to develop national design guidance for consideration of resilience and climate change.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $750000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 15-80

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

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

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Crichton-Sumners, Camille

  • Start Date: 20200519
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01739576
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 15-80
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: May 18 2020 3:06PM