A resilient transportation network can continue to provide seamless mobility even in the face of a changing climate. Inclement weather is currently estimated to cause 15 percent of congestion, increasing the number of crashes and delays and reducing road capacity. Approximately half of the days in a typical year have weather conditions that affect driving and contribute to road closures, traffic slowdowns, transit delays, crashes, and damage to electronic devices such as traffic lights, message signs, and cameras. These disruptions affect drivers, transit users, pedestrians, and cyclists, and the region’s most vulnerable residents are particularly affected by disruptions to the transit network. Climate change is already causing more frequent road flooding, snow storms, and heat- and cold-related pavement and communication failures. These capacity and performance issues are only expected to worsen.
As road and transit systems modernize, the same technologies that can improve system safety and reliability can make the system more responsive to weather events. The expansion of intelligent transportation system (ITS) devices and traffic management capabilities will support a variety of weather responsive traffic management strategies, such as instituting variable speed limit systems to reduce speeds during inclement weather, coordinating traffic signal timing that reflects the slower speed of travel in corridors during bad weather, employing alternative signal plans to support detours, and increasing coverage of emergency vehicle patrols to remove disabled vehicles more quickly. Existing regional strategies to mitigate impacts include traveler information and alerts, weather advisories, vehicle restrictions such as banning trucks during high winds, road closures for flooding or drifting snow, anti-icing/deicing road surface treatments, plowing, and pumping water from flooded locations.
The following describes strategies and associated actions to implement this recommendation.