The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 54-21 [Active (Synthesis)]

Practices in the Transportation Planning Process to Address Climate Resilience and GHG Emission Quantification and Reduction
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $55,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 4/29/2022 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Trey Joseph Wadsworth
Research Agency: Dr. John Zamurs
Principal Investigator: Zamurs and Associates
Fiscal Year: 2023

Final Scope

In transportation planning processes, state departments of transportation (DOTs) are facing the issue of climate change on two fronts: (1) resiliency and (2) GHG emissions quantification and reduction. To illustrate the resiliency issue, forecasting or modeling risk to infrastructure from extreme weather is becoming increasingly essential but a still maturing practice. Some DOTs have had almost a decade of practices for quantifying or reducing GHG emissions, while other DOTs are establishing practices to implement the requirements included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.


How DOTs address both in transportation planning can play an integral role in successfully meeting the challenge of climate change. DOT practices vary, especially the degree to which there are integration of the issues in their transportation plans, especially the federally required statewide long-range transportation plans (LRTPs) and statewide transportation improvement programs (STIPs). Practices could include greenhouse gas quantification/reduction policies, program management and investment decisions, project selection criteria, or engineering directives on resiliency. Additionally, the tools, data, methodologies, or models used by DOTs vary for estimating climate change implications, resiliency, or emissions.


The objective of this synthesis is to document current DOT practices to address climate resilience and quantify/reduce GHG emissions in transportation planning processes, including LRTPs and STIPs.

Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to):

  • Stated policies, goals, targets, or mandates for quantifying/reducing GHG emissions;
  • Approaches and methodologies to quantify GHG emissions;
  •  Strategies to reduce GHG emissions stated in transportations plans, including LRTPs and STIPS;
  • Strategies in use by DOTs in the planning process to enhance resiliency in transportation networks;
  • Policies, goals, engineering directives, or other documented commitments to increase resiliency;
  • Approaches, methodologies, or mechanisms to measure system impacts, forecast change, and estimate frequencies of extreme weather (including data sources);
  • Climate risk quantification and incorporation in transportation plans, including LRTPs and STIPs;
  • Coordination practices with metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and local governments, and state partner agencies; and
  • State-level research or synthesis of practice efforts on climate resilience or quantifying/reducing GHG emissions.

Information will be gathered through a literature review, a survey of state DOTs, and follow-up interviews with selected agencies for the development of case examples. Information gaps and suggestions for research to address those gaps will be identified.

Information Sources (Partial):

  • Minnesota Department of Transportation, Office of Research and Innovation. 2022. Developing Transportation System Climate Resilience Performance Measures. St. Paul, MN: Transportation Research Synthesis.
  • https://www.dot.state.mn.us/research/TRS/2022/TRS2202.pdf
  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Methods for State DOTs to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Transportation Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/26523.
  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Strategic Issues Facing Transportation, Volume 2: Climate Change, Extreme Weather Events, and the Highway System: Practitioner’s Guide and Research Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/22473.
  • United States Department of Transportation, Office of the Secretary of Transportation. 2021. Climate Action Plan: Revitalizing Efforts to Bolster Adaptation & Increase Resilience. Washington, DC. https://www.sustainability.gov/pdfs/dot-2021-cap.pdf.
  • United States Office Government Accountability Office, Report to Congressional Requesters. 2021. Climate Resilience: Options to enhance the Resiliency of Federally Funded Roads and Reduce Fiscal Exposure. Washington, DC. https://www.gao.gov/assets/gao-21-436.pdf.
TRB Staff
Trey Joseph Wadsworth
Phone: 202-334-2307
Email: twadsworth@nas.edu  
Meeting Dates
First Panel: September 13, 2022
Teleconference with Consultant: October 26, 2022
Second Panel: June 6, 2023

Topic Panel
Nastasha Earle-Young, North Carolina Department of Transportation
Habte Kassa, Georgia Department of Transportation
Jessica Kenny, Massachusetts Department of Transportation
Brendan Leistiko, Washington State Department of Transportation
Steven Olmsted, Arizona Department of Transportation
James Pappas, Delaware Department of Transportation
Siri Simons, Minnesota Department of Transportation
David D'Onofrio, Federal Highway Administration Liaison
Claire Randall, Transportation Research Board Liaison

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