The California DOT (Caltrans) recently released four new climate change vulnerability assessments focusing on Central California and Orange County that highlights the risks posed to the transportation assets in those regions due to wildfires, extreme temperatures, sea-level rise, and coastal bluff erosion.
The new region-specific assessments are part of an ongoing effort for the agency to identify how climate change will impact the state's complex transportation system in each of its 12 districts.
"Too many Californians have already experienced the effects of climate change including fires, flooding, and mudslides impacting all modes of travel, the erosion of coastal highways, and dead and dying trees falling near roadways," Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin said in a statement. "Caltrans is taking steps now to fully understand the reality we're facing and ensure the long-term health and vitality of our vast transportation system for current and future generations."
The most recent assessments include 21 counties throughout the Sacramento region, Central California, mountain regions, and Orange County. Interactive maps created by Caltrans help demonstrate the expected impacts of climate change on the state's transportation system. The goal of these new vulnerability assessments is to help guide the department toward planning and investment strategies that lessen the impacts of climate change and save taxpayers money.
Caltrans is sharing the reports' data with local, regional, state, and federal agencies in order to work toward establishing a more resilient transportation system. The department has completed all but two of the assessments for the state. Upon completion, the agency will develop adaptation reports for each region that outline how climate change resiliency will be fully integrated into future transportation decisions.