Addressing climate change adaptation through transit asset management: a case study of MARTA
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This thesis conducts a case study of how MARTA could address climate change adaptation through its transit asset management program. Two climate-modeling approaches are utilized to project potential future climate scenarios within MARTA's service area to identify significant climate stressors. These climate stressors are used to help identify vulnerable assets, operations, and locations in the MARTA system through several interviews conducted with key MARTA staff. The results of this basic climate vulnerability assessment are used to develop a series of short-term and long-term adaptation strategies that address these vulnerabilities. Next, a framework is proposed for addressing climate adaptation through MARTA's existing asset management program. Finally, the thesis proposes a general framework that other transit agencies could utilize to address climate adaptation through their asset management programs. The results of the climate vulnerability assessment indicate that the MARTA service area is likely to experience longer exposure to higher temperatures, flooding, wider variations in temperature, droughts, and more frequent high-wind events. Of these stressors, the MARTA system is most vulnerable to the effects of extreme and prolonged heat as well as flooding caused by intense precipitation events. Adaptation strategies to address these vulnerabilities include more frequent inspection of HVAC systems on buses and rail vehicles, increasing pumping capacity at underground rail stations, and incorporating low-impact developments into surrounded station areas. The limitations of the results of this case study and areas for further research from these limitations are also presented.