Public transportation is a powerful force to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. Thanks to Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) there are three million less drivers on the road each day and every person that rides a train or a bus is adding five times less greenhouse gas emissions to the environment than driving in their car. Yet as New York saw during Superstorm Sandy, climate change can take a devastating toll on public transportation. That’s why making the MTA network more resilient against extreme weather is both a short-term tactic to keep service running and a long-term strategy to fight climate change. As a result, the rail operator has published its first annual Climate Adaption Task Force Resiliency Report. The report focuses on how MTA’s public transit projects are preparing for sea level rise, storm surges and other climate-related dangers to this coastal region.
To let customers know how the MTA and its agencies— Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, New York City Transit (including Staten Island Railway), and Bridges and Tunnels — are preparing for the “urgent reality” of climate change, the MTA has published its first annual Climate Adaptation Task Force Resiliency Report. A disaster recovery budget of $10.5 billion was approved in 2013.
The MTA ( @MTA ) Resiliency Report is the first annual update from the MTA’s Climate Adaptation Task Force, which was formed after Superstorm Sandy and meets regularly with MTA agency staff and experts from outside organisations. The report offers a view of the MTA’s efforts to prepare for climate change and related emergencies – efforts such as the fortification of tunnels with moving marine doors, the use of portable flood walls that can be moved to critical areas as needed, and the permanent elevation of flood-exposed signal, power and communications equipment.
“For the MTA, climate change is not only an urgent reality, it is a reality to which all six MTA agencies are already devoting extensive financial, planning, and engineering resources. There is no responsible alternative. The science of climate change is well established,” according to the report.
Using sources such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the New York City Panel on Climate Change, the MTA projects sea levels to rise between 8 and 30 inches in the New York City region by the 2050s, putting a vast amount of MTA’s assets, which are at grade level or underground, at risk of flooding and damage. Large portions of the MTA transportation network consist of aging infrastructure, and because of the coastal location of many MTA assets, the potential impacts from coastal inundation are significant. The MTA’s transportation network and infrastructure assets cover 5,000 square miles of service territory and 2,069 track miles, all of which are affected by various, often compounded, climate change hazards.
For the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), climate change is not only an urgent reality, it is a reality to which all six MTA agencies are already devoting extensive financial, planning, and engineering resources.
This initial report offers a broad view of the MTA’s climate actions to date, as well as a more detailed look at selected resiliency projects. These range from emergency protocols to the fortification of tunnels and the permanent elevation of flood exposed electrical facilities and signal systems. Some use off-the-shelf flood preventions, such as stop logs; others entail customized or newly developed equipment, for which the Task Force has helped arrange vendor demonstrations. The majority of MTA climate adaptations are integrated into the post-Sandy repair capital projects.
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