Project Title

Climate Change and Non-Motorized Transportation

Collaborating Universities

Morgan State University
1700 East Cold Spring Lane
Baltimore MD 21251
443-885-3333
www.morgan.edu

University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716
302-831-2792
www.udel.edu

Principal Investigator(s)

Ardeshir Faghri (Udel) Email: faghri@udel.edu
Hyeon-Shic Shin (MSU) Email: hyeonshic.shin@morgan.edu

Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization)

UD: $19,165 (Federal), $19,292 (Match)
MSU: $36,928 (Federal), $36,928 (Match)

Total Project Costs

$56,093 (Federal) / $56,220 (Match)

Start Date

06/01/16

Completion Date

05/31/17

Description

The subject of Climate Change including Sea Level Rise and how it will impact the Civil Infrastructure Systems (amongst other impacts such as environmental deterioration, energy availability and human health) has been one of the most (if not the most) important topic(s) of the 21st century. From religious leaders (including Pope Francis) to many political leaders (including President Obama) have addressed the importance of pro-actively preparing the world and especially the future generations for the impacts of Climate Change. Civil Infrastructure facilities such as roadways, bridges, tunnels and subways, rail stations, bus stations, parking lots, and airports, among other structures have seen their fair share of impact and sometimes deterioration models due to Climate Change studied to the fullest extent. No doubt more studies continue to be conducted now and in the future. There are currently numerous studies covering these specific facilities in the literature. Ironically, one topic that does not appear in the literature is how the Climate Change will impact non-motorized transportation facilities. Non-motorized transportation facilities such as pedestrian sidewalks, pedestrian and hiking trails, paths, bicycle paths, routes and trails, as well as public parks and recreation facilities have seen very little to no coverage in the literature. Besides using such facilities for recreation, many people use them for transportation and still a great many use them for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a healthy environment. The major goal for the present project is to answer the following two important questions:

Project’s Major Goal and Questions to Be Answered:

  1. How will climate change including sea level rise impact the non-motorized transportation facilities used by pedestrians and bicyclists?
  2. What can be done to minimize or even eliminate the negative impacts of climate change on such facilities?

Implementation

At the conclusion of the project, major results will be disseminated within academic and non­academic venues. Academic venues include but will not be limited to journal publications, conference publications and presentations, as well as proceedings and poster presentations. Academic dissemination will also include integrating the results of the project in undergraduate and graduate courses covering the topics of transportation, sustainability and transportation sustainability. One such course named Transportation Sustainability is currently being taught to graduate students in all MATS-UTC Consortium university members. Non-academic venues include project showcases, brown bag presentations that include government and non­government officials and many other non-academic meetings and gatherings that include many grass-root movement organizations that promote walking and biking. Such organizations have been flourishing in many different communities in recent years. Specific project outcomes such as maps showing the impact of climate change on non-motorized transportation facilities will be made available to government transportation agencies at different levels. This is to make sure that future transportation plans (that have already considered the impacts of climate change) will definitely include facilities for the public who prefer to walk or bike instead of using motor vehicles. Being aware of how climate change will impact non-motorized transportation facilities will make the future transportation planning processes simpler for integrating such facilities into the overall transportation plans. The specific outcomes for this project will include (but will not be limited to) the following:

1)  A good knowledge of how climate change will impact the civil-infrastructure systems based on the most up-to-date documents and practices;

2)  A good knowledge of how climate change will specifically impact the non-motorized transportation facilities based on the analysis and models developed in this project;

3)  Obtaining the existing transportation planning documents for the next 5, 10, 15, to 20 years and see if the impact of climate change has been taken into consideration. This effort will also involve coordination with transportation planning officials and a high quality literature search;

4)  Obtaining the existing transportation planning documents for the next 5, 10, 15, to 20 years to see how non-motorized facilities have been taken into consideration in the overall transportation planning efforts. Again, this effort will also involve coordination with transportation planning officials as well as a high quality literature search.

5)  Identification of methods and procedures for how to a) curtail or even eliminate the negative impacts of climate change on non-motorized transportation facilities, b) how to integrate the impacts of climate change into the overall short range and long range transportation planning process, and c) how to integrate the impacts of climate change on non-motorized facilities into the overall short range and long range transportation planning process.

Impacts

The major expected benefit and impact of this project will be how we as planners and engineers can protect ourselves and our future generations from the negative impacts that Climate Change and Sea Level Rise will have on specifically our non-motorized transportation facilities. Our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren have every right to want to have access to such non-motorized transportation facilities. They want to use them for recreation, for sports, for transportation and yes, for maintaining a healthy environment and a healthy body and mind. How can we, the planners and engineers of the 21st century guarantee them this right for the next few centuries? The results of this project will be disseminated and communicated in a variety of forms including scientific and academic publications, conference publications and presentations, as well as poster sessions in academic and non-academic meetings. As much as possible, the results will be communicated to the government officials at all levels, including local, state and federal. For ease of comprehension, maps will be prepared to clearly demonstrate the potential negative impacts of Climate Change on non-motorized transportation facilities. Maps will also be prepared to answer the important question of what to do about these negative impacts, i.e., how can we integrate non-motorized transportation facilities in the future civil infrastructure plans? Other benefits may include bringing pedestrian and bicycle advocates to interact more closely with individuals (transportation planners and planning engineers) who are in charge of transportation planning processes. This will not only place necessary emphasis on creation of necessary non-motorized transportation facilities, but will also help in improving societal health. And finally, the most beneficial impact is the list of action plans that will be identified and evaluated in order to make sure the negative impacts of climate change will not reduce the size, area and the number of non-motorized transportation facilities that will be created in the future.  The world population is constantly increasing.  It is extremely important not to lose sight of the fact that non-motorized transportation facilities and structures are an extremely important component of our overall transportation system, for our transportation, our environment and our health.