The National Academies

NCHRP 20-44(44) [Pending]

Implementing the Design Practices Guide for Applying Climate Change Information to Hydrologic and Coastal Design of Transportation Infrastructure
[ NCHRP 20-44 (NCHRP Implementation Support Program) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $130,000
Contract Time: 24 months
Staff Responsibility: Sid Mohan


National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Project 15-61 developed a proposed design practices guide, Applying Climate Change Information to Hydrologic and Coastal Design of Transportation Infrastructure, that provides hydrologic and hydraulic (H&H) engineers with tools needed to amend current practice to account for future climate change. The guide addresses potential effects of climate change, such as sea level rise and extreme rainfall events on H&H project and programmatic design, and will aid in the planning, design, operation, and maintenance of transportation infrastructure to prepare for these effects. The guide provides a comprehensive framework for considering and, where appropriate, incorporating climate change into inland hydrology and coastal analyses. To the extent possible, the guide is applicable to the tools and datasets available today, but is not tied to them. The guide is structured so that it will remain relevant when new tools and datasets become available in the future.

A follow-up project, NCHRP 15-61A, “Updates to the Design Practices Guide for Applying Climate Change Information to Hydrologic and Coastal Design of Transportation Infrastructure,” was initiated to address important research topics that require further analysis and elaboration in the design practices guide before the design guide is submitted to the AASHTO Technical Committee on Hydrology and Hydraulics (TCHH) for review and consideration for AASHTO adoption.

An implementation focused project, NCHRP Project 20-44(23), “Pilot Test of Climate Change Design Practices Guide for Hydrology and Hydraulics,” conducted pilot tests with several state departments of transportation (DOTs) to assess the effectiveness and ease of implementation of the proposed design practices guide for projects of varying size and complexity. Pilot tests were conducted by Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, and Oregon DOTs. A wrap-up workshop with the pilot test participants was held on November 17-18, 2022.

NCHRP Project 20-44(44) is intended to support the adoption of the design practices guide by AASHTO TCHH to supplement the AASHTO Drainage Manual. The activities envisioned in this implementation project will improve the usefulness and usability of the design practices guidance through astute user feedback. This will further publicize the guide and the good results obtained through these projects.


The objective of this project is to enhance and expand the implementation of the design practices guide, focusing only on inland hydrology/hydraulics, by providing training and disseminating the results to a broad audience of practitioners and decision makers.   


To realize the objective, the research plan shall describe appropriate deliverables that include, but are not limited to, the following tasks.

Task 1. Conduct a survey or scan of states, and develop an overview of the states that have developed and deployed a programmatic approach to the implementation of the design practices guide, the results which would be useful for states to contact their peers for follow up activities, collaboration, etc.

Task 2. Develop training materials on inland hydrology/hydraulics and conduct at least two workshops (with at least one workshop held in person) focused on inland hydrology/hydraulics that’s recorded in an e-learning format that can be hosted by AASHTO, using the Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) standard. 

Task 3. Provide general recommendations or a checklist for DOTs on how to revise or add to their own policies and procedures based on the information developed from this project.

Task 4. Provide a list of other applicable, existing trainings that may be suitable for state DOTs to undertake inland H&H design of transportation infrastructure.

Task 5. Provide recommendations on how to ensure maintenance and viability of the materials developed in Tasks 1 – 4 after support from NCHRP ends at the end of this project.

Task 6. Prepare a conduct of research report that documents the results of the project accompanied by appropriate presentation materials and a plan that identifies opportunities for additional dissemination.


STATUS: A response has been received for this RFP.  The project panel will meet to determine next steps.

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