Project Title

Impact of Climate Change and Sea Level Rise on Stormwater Design and Reoccurring Flooding Problems in the Hampton Roads Region

Collaborating Universities

University of Virginia
351 McCormick Dr.
P.O. Box 400742
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4742

Virginia Tech
1424 S Main St.
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Principal Investigator(s)

Jonathan Goodall (UVa) Email:
Venkat Sridhar (VT) Email:

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

US DOT: $150,000 (Federal)
UVa $75,000 (Match)
VT $75,000 (Match)

Total Project Costs

$150,000 Federal/ $150,000 Match

Agency ID or Contract Number


Start Date


Completion Date



This project addresses challenges posed by seal level rise and climate change on transportation planning and design.  Through partnerships with local on-federal agencies within the region, the research is expected to result in outcomes that have a direct impact on transportation planning and design within the region.

There are two research objectives in the project.  The first research objective is to quantify rainfall distributions, intensity, and frequency relationships that are used for transportation design through the analysis of climate change scenarios. This will be achieved by analyzing recent precipitation records and projected precipitation records at the existing spatial and temporal resolutions for the region to better understand changes in storm intensities, durations, and frequencies for the region.  The second research objective is to improve metrics for reoccurring flood vulnerability due to seal level rise used in transportation planning and project prioritization. This wile be achieved by using recently acquired high resolution terrain data collected using LiDAR within a Geographic Information System (GIS) that includes other key stormwater and transportation infrastructure systems to assess the potential for areas within Hampton Roads to experience recurring flooding.

The research plan includes engagement with stakeholders and decisions makers within the region through advisory panel meetings, and for transferring technical outcomes through webinars and stakeholder meetings.


We anticipate this project will be a viable subject for a webinar.  We anticipate that our method for assessing flooding vulnerability and for updating design storms will be of interest to others in the MATS UTC and broader communities.

We plan on having three stakeholder meetings during the project period to guide our research and obtain stakeholder input. Our plan for technical transfer makes use of our partnerships with Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRDPC) and local government communities.  We plan on having the HRDPC regional stormwater committee as an advisory committee to provide feedback on the development of the design storm curves. We will also be in contact with HRTPO to ensure the results of our work can be incorporated into their planning prioritization tool.  These partnerships are described further in the attached letters of support.



The expected outcomes of this work are tied to the two research objectives.  The expected outcome of the first objective will be design storms usable by HRPDC and other agencies when designing standards to accommodate future climate condition.  The expected outcome of the second objective will be flooding vulnerability metrics for infrastructure that can be incorporated into transportation planning prioritization.  There are many other possible benefits to better understanding flooding impacts and climate change transportation infrastructure.  For example, Suarez at al (2005) performed a systems-wide assessment of flooding impacts and climate change on urban transportation in Boston, MA.  Their results suggested an almost doubling in traffic delays and long trips for the region.  using the data resulting from this work, it will be possible to perform a similar analysis for the Hampton Roads regions.

Web Links to Reports and to the Project website