In an effort to identify how climate change might impact the state highway system, the California DOT (Caltrans) is releasing a series of climate change vulnerability assessments that focus on the climate-related risks posed to the transportation system in Southern California.
The reports cover Imperial, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Ventura counties, and include an interactive mapping application that shows where and how climate change is expected to have an impact. The assessments will include the impact of wildfires, extreme temperatures and precipitation, sea-level rise and coastal-bluff erosion.
Caltrans says it is committed to ensuring the long-term health of its highway system and to working with partners to safeguard the state's extensive 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 will share the reports’ data with local, regional, state, and federal agencies with the intent that these various partnerships will work toward establishing a more resilient transportation system and responding to the need for actions to adapt to a changing climate.
In recent years, Southern California has been hit by destructive and deadly wildfires along with record heat waves, comparatively wet winters, and more frequent mudslides. More-severe droughts, less snowpack, and changes in water availability; rising sea levels, more-severe storm impacts, and coastal erosion; increased temperatures and more-frequent, longer heat waves; and longer and more-severe wildfire seasons are among the general climate trends expected to continue in California.
Upon completion of all 12 assessments, Caltrans will develop adaptation reports for each region that outline how climate change will be fully integrated into future transportation decisions.