California's transportation department released the first of an expected 12 Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments, which are being prepared to help planners understand how and where the future effects of climate change may impact the state highway system and its users.
The first volume evaluates the vulnerability of the San Francisco Bay Area region's infrastructure.
Caltrans says the series of studies will provide data about how climate change impacts the way the system plans, designs, builds, operates and maintains the state highway system.
The study identifies specific locations in the Bay Area that may be impacted by rising sea levels and larger storm surge, more frequent wildfires, changing precipitation patterns and increasing temperatures associated with climate change. By identifying the possible risks and implications of climate change, Caltrans says the reports seek to guide future planning processes and investments to ensure the long-term future of California's transportation system.
The past storm season in California caused severe flooding, landslides and coastal erosion totaling over $1.2 billion in highway damages statewide, Caltrans says. Nearly $390 million of those damages occurred in Caltrans District 4, which includes the Bay Area.
The summary report for the Bay Area assessment provides an overview of the extent and locations of possible climate impacts. A more in-depth technical report provides technical information and the methods of analysis used to determine the potential exposure of Caltrans District 4's State Highway System.
Caltrans says it has been considering the impact of climatic changes on the state transportation system and developed guidance and studies on how climate change can be incorporated into planning and project design. The agency says this aligns with Governor Edmund Brown Jr's call to integrate climate change into transportation investment decisions through Executive Order B-30-15.