Facing expensive climate threats, NYC’s transit system unveils a resilience plan

Dive Brief:

  • The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced on April 25 its climate resilience plans to strengthen the transit system’s ability to withstand future storms at a cost of up to $6 billion.  
  • The plan consists of a climate vulnerability assessment and 10 goals to address the threat of climate impacts on the transit system’s wide-ranging infrastructure that includes subways, buses and commuter rail lines.
  • “Our transit system is still vulnerable to the effects of climate change,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber in a statement, emphasizing the need to “ensure the reliability and safety of New York’s transit system for years to come.”

Dive Insight:

Storms over the last 15 years have served as a wake-up call showing just how dangerous and expensive torrential rainfall can be for the city’s transit system. Hurricane Sandy, which struck New York City on Oct. 29, 2012, flooded subway tunnels in lower Manhattan, damaged tracks and stations and caused an estimated $5 billion in damage to MTA infrastructure. In September 2021, Hurricane Ida, downgraded to a post-tropical storm by the time it hit the city, caused $128 million in damage to MTA systems.

Average sea levels at Manhattan’s Battery Park today are already more than a foot higher than when the subway first opened in 1904. According to the MTA’s just-released Climate Resilience Roadmap, the New York region could see twice the current number of torrential rainfall events in the next two decades under a high-emissions scenario.

To prepare for the coming years of increased precipitation, the MTA laid out a plan to raise sensitive equipment in subway and bus yards above projected flood depths and install raised steps and elevated street vents to prevent stormwater from entering the subway system. The transit agency also plans to invest in drainage and pumping systems to remove water that does enter the system and mitigate the impacts of monthly tidal floods on railroad infrastructure.

Amid increasing extreme heat risk, the MTA will work to protect bridges from the impacts of high temperatures, which can force metallic components to expand during prolonged exposure.

MTA Construction and Development President Jamie Torres-Springer said that it would welcome others in the effort. “Climate change doesn’t recognize jurisdictional boundaries, so we’re eager to partner with municipal agencies across the region to ensure our transit infrastructure is protected from the extreme weather events we can anticipate in the future,” he said in a statement. 

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top