A planning tool for preliminary assessment of transportation infrastructure vulnerable to current and future flooding
The Sea Level Scenario Sketch Planning Tool has been completed over multiple phases since 2012. In 2020, the University of Florida (UF) GeoPlan Center completed another phase of work, culminating in updated SLR models of inundation and an updated Map Viewer.
In Phase 1 (2012-13), researchers from the UF GeoPlan Center developed the Florida Sea Level Scenario Sketch Planning Tool (SLS Sketch Planning Tool) to facilitate identification of transportation infrastructure potentially at risk from projected sea level changes. The purpose of the tool was to visualize various sea level scenarios at future time periods to inform transportation planners and highlight infrastructure for potential avoidance, minimization, or mitigation. The Phase 1 work built upon the research completed under Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) contract BDK79 977-01, Development of a Methodology for the Assessment of Sea Level Rise Impacts on Florida’s Transportation Modes and Infrastructure (Florida Atlantic University, 2012).
US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) sea level change projection methodology, as outlined in Engineering Circular EC 1165-2-212, was used in Phase 1 to generate statewide and regional SLR projections (“low/ historic”, “intermediate”, and “high” projections) in 10-year increments from 2040 through 2100. The benefits of this methodology include the use of local data to generate relative SLR projections, projections for multiple scenarios, and the ability to revise the calculations based on the latest available guidance and trends.
In Phase 2 (2013-15), the UF GeoPlan Center and FDOT Office of Policy Planning worked with two Metropolitan Regional Planning Organizations (MPOs) to test the tool’s usefulness for planning at the regional scale. Both MPOs were awarded grants through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)’s Climate Change Resilience Pilot Program, which has funded partners to assess infrastructure vulnerability to the impacts of sea level changes and extreme weather events, determine adaptation options, and improve resiliency of infrastructure. This opportunity allowed for testing of the SLS Sketch Planning Tool with partners who could benefit from the tools, while providing feedback on usability enhancements.
In Phase 3 (2016-17), SLR scenarios were re-mapped by county, utilizing local tide station data, the best available elevation data, and five SLR projections from NOAA (2012) and USACE (2013). Updated transportation data was analyzed using the newly mapped SLR scenarios, calculating amount and percentage of impact to transportation assets under each SLR scenario. During this phase, a new, modern web map viewer was developed and deployed.
In Phase 4 (2019-20), NOAA 2017 SLR projections were mapped and added to the Sketch Tool. USACE SLR scenarios were re-mapped to reflect updated lidar-based elevation data. Transportation data was added and analyzed for exposure to NOAA 2017 and USACE SLR projections.
As sea level projections and tidal datums are modified over time, horizon year, and place, the ability to have a framework of tools that are customizable (based on the latest data inputs and projections) will facilitate the revision and reassessment of potentially impacted areas and related infrastructure. In addition, as higher resolution data inputs become available, the analysis can change from statewide and regional to more local in scale. The tools developed in this project support higher resolution data inputs and facilitate reproduction of the data outputs (inundation surfaces and affected transportation infrastructure layers).
Jennifer Carver, Project Manager, Florida Department of Transportation, Office of Policy & Planning
University of Florida GeoPlan Center
Crystal Goodison, Principal Investigator
Alexis Thomas, Co-Principal Investigator
Reginald Pierre-Jean, Geospatial Software Developer
Russell Watkins, Ph.D, Geographer
Katherine Norris, GIS Data Manager
Sam Palmer, GIS Analyst
Daniel Downing, Web Mapping Specialist
Erik Finlay, GIS Analyst
Lance Barbour, Systems Administrator
Tyler Tornese, Graduate Assistant
Isabelle Thomas, Student Assistant