SANDAG Regional Transportation Infrastructure Sea-Level Rise Assessment and Adaptation Guidance

To address the risk to transportation infrastructure caused by sea-level rise, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) sought to assess sea-level rise risks throughout the San Diego County region and plan for climate change adaptation. Dudek evaluated the region’s vulnerability using models and crafted a robust, visually engaging document to guide future sea-level rise adaptation efforts.

Project Facts
  • Prepared for SANDAG
  • San Diego County, California
  • 70+ miles of coastline analyzed
  • Cross-jurisdictional effort
  • Regional transportation infrastructure included roadways, active transportation pathways, and transit routes
  • 10+ interviews were conducted and 3 public workshops held
A wave splashes onto the roadway in San Diego, a risk evaluated in SANDAG's sea-level rise assessment.

The Challenge

Many coastal cities in San Diego County are at risk from sea-level rise with assessments indicating that transportation infrastructure is vulnerable. Because disruptions to one segment of transportation infrastructure can cause traffic delays and disruption of emergency services to the rest of the system SANDAG sought to assess sea-level rise risks regionally to promote coordinated adaptation efforts.

A San Diego coastal roadway on a sunny day

The Solution

Dudek’s coastal planning team modeled two scenarios representing probabilistic sea-level rise projections for the years 2050 and 2100. Then our experts quantitatively evaluated the vulnerability of select regional transportation assets to identify which assets were of greatest concern. These models and analyses informed the preparation of an Adaptation Guidance report. The document evaluates potential sea-level rise impacts on regional transportation infrastructure in San Diego County, provides an overview of best adaptation planning practices, and presents adaptation pathways consisting of policies, potential projects (with an emphasis on natural infrastructure), and funding mechanisms that may be considered at the regional or local level to minimize risks from hazards and maintain a functioning regional transportation system.

Aerial view of downtown San Diego and the San Diego bay

The Impact

The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the San Diego region, and findings from the Adaptation Guidance will be incorporated into¬†San Diego Forward: The 2021 Regional Plan, which combines its Regional Transportation Plan, Sustainable Communities Strategy, and Regional Comprehensive Plan. Implementation of the strategies outlined can “allow communities to reduce the risk of costly damage from coastal hazards, ensure the coastal economy continues to thrive, and protect coastal habitats, public access and recreation, and other coastal resources for current and future generations.”

What We Did

Our multidisciplinary specialties allow us to provide efficiencies that maintain project momentum.
Aerial view of La Jolla cove at the site of the Coast Boulevard Emergency Sea Cave Stabilization project

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