Climate Change Vulnerability and Risk Assessment of New Jersey’s Transportation Infrastructure

Posted on: 12/22/2014 - Updated on: 3/06/2020

Posted by

Rachel Gregg



In 2010, a partnership of New Jersey state agencies and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (the “New Jersey Partnership”) was awarded a grant from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to conduct a Vulnerability and Risk Assessment of transportation infrastructure from the impacts of climate change. The primary objective of this project is to pilot FHWA’s Vulnerability and Risk Assessment Conceptual Model using New Jersey as a case study, providing feedback for the advancement of the Conceptual Model as well as develop a greater awareness and understanding of the potential effects of climate change on transportation infrastructure in New Jersey. Based on the feedback received through this and the four other pilot projects funded across the United States, FHWA will revise and finalize the Conceptual Model for application nationwide.

The Conceptual Risk Assessment Model was developed to assist transportation agencies in identifying infrastructure at risk for exposure to climate change stressors and determining which threats carry the most significant consequences. It incorporates the following summary steps:

  1. Build an inventory of relevant assets and determine which are critical;
  2. Gather information on potential future climate scenarios;
  3. Assess the potential vulnerability and resilience of critical assets.

These three steps were performed for two study areas in New Jersey, each one of which contains key transportation assets within all three New Jersey MPOs’ jurisdictions. One study area focused on coastal NJ, running from the mouth of the Raritan River to the tip of Cape May (Coastal Study Area). The other incorporates much of the Northeast Corridor, and then extends southward along the Delaware River from Trenton to Salem County.

Affiliated Organizations

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides stewardship over the construction, maintenance and preservation of the Nation’s highways, bridges and tunnels. FHWA also conducts research and provides technical assistance to state and local agencies in an effort to improve safety, mobility, and livability, and to encourage innovation.