Actions by individuals or systems to avoid, withstand, or take advantage of current and projected climate changes and impacts. Adaptation decreases a system's vulnerability, or increases its resilience to impacts.
- Pew Center on Global Climate Change
What is Adaptation?
Mitigating climate change in the transportation sector involves reducing and limiting greenhouse gas emissions. However, even if we stop emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere today, there will still be a certain amount of climate change. In fact, “much of the change in climate over the next 30 or 40 years is already determined by the past and present emissions. Therefore it is necessary to devise adaptation strategies to deal with the impending consequences.” A multitude of adaptation strategies will need to be employed, these strategies range from built fixes to policy initiatives to behavioral changes.
Adapting the Oregon Transportation Sector
ODOT is responsible for over 19,000 lane miles of state highway, 2,700 bridges, thousands of culverts, and other critical infrastructure, all of which are potentially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. It is ODOT’s mission to provide a safe and efficient transportation system, however the impacts of climate change threaten the agency’s ability to fulfill that mission.
Climate change will impact the way ODOT does business in two broad ways. First, the integrity of ODOT’s system operations and infrastructure is threatened by climate variability. Issues such as flooding, landslides, coastal erosion will likely increase, putting pressure on maintenance and emergency crews, and impacting the safety and mobility of the travelling public. Second, climate change will have a significant impact on the delivery of ODOT’s projects.
ODOT's Climate Change Adaptation Strategy Report