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

Created: 12/22/2014 - Updated: 8/09/2019


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.

Published On

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Target Climate Changes and Impacts: 
Infrastructure damage
Public safety threats
Sea level rise
Storms or extreme weather events
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Capacity Building
Conduct vulnerability assessments and studies
Create/enhance resources and tools
Climate Type: 
Sociopolitical Setting: 

Related Resources

Adaptation Phase: 

In 2010, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) selected five pilot teams from across the country to test a climate change vulnerability assessment model.

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