Adapability and the Broward MPO
The Broward MPO recognizes the importance of adaptation to environmental change. Environmental change is not a new concept. Throughout history we have adapted to different climates and environmental changes. In southeastern Florida we have seen our shoreline retreat and expand over the centuries. An example of this change is most evident in Palm Beach County where the former ocean dune system can be seen as ridges (or hills) along the I-95 corridor. This change happened over long periods of time.
Climate change is not a new challenge; it is a persistent challenge and requires adaptation approaches be considered in the construction and maintenance of our transportation facilities, be they roads bridges or transit lines. We cannot stop environmental change from happening but we can plan for it appropriately.
We know, from direct experience, that the economic loss of our infrastructure because of climate variations and extremes can be substantial in southeastern Florida. A slow sea level rise combined with high tides and storm events challenges our ability to maintain our infrastructure in low lying areas. Storm water drains backing up and exacerbating flooding is somewhat common. The Broward MPO analyzes how environmental change impacts our investments as we move forward with funding our transportation projects.
The Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact
In 2009, the Broward MPO participated in the formation of the South Florida Regional Climate Change Compact that represents four counties (Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Monroe) with approximately 30% of Florida’s population. The Compact states that “the four counties of Southeast Florida and their respective populations, totaling more than five million residents, are expected to share in disproportionately high risks associated with climate change due to low land elevations, rising sea level projections, and anticipated increases in tropical storm events. “
The Climate Change Compact is developing a Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Action Plan, with components to establish a baseline of greenhouse gas emissions for Southeast Florida, and strategies for emission reduction through greater energy efficiencies in the built environment, land use, and transportation including an increase in public transit, emerging vehicle technologies, and advanced biofuels.
In addition, the Broward MPO is a partner with South Florida Regional Climate Change Compact to draft a report documenting the challenges of climate change for the southeast Florida region. The report will describe the methods used to perform the vulnerability assessment, discuss the limitations of the analysis and specifically focus on the affected roadways and associated infrastructure.
Broward 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan
The Broward 2035 Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) defines many approaches and policies to address issues related to climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A recent study showed that transportation is the source of 28% of greenhouse gas emissions nationwide, and that 60% of the emissions are from private vehicles. The Vision of the 2035 LRTP supports a multi-disciplinary approach to “Transform transportation in Broward County to achieve optimum mobility with emphasis on mass transit while promoting economic vitality, protecting the environment, and enhancing quality of life.”
For perspectives from the Broward MPO, please review the documents at the links below: