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Transportation and Infrastructure Planning

White car parked in lane next to bus with bicycle on front

The connection between transportation and climate change is a multifaceted and pressing concern, with implications for sustainability, environmental preservation, and societal well-being. 

As we grapple with the challenges posed by climate change, it has become increasingly evident that one of the critical areas requiring immediate attention and transformation is transportation infrastructure. In November of 2021, the U.S. Congress passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law / Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (BIL/IIJA), which emphasizes climate resilience, environmental impact assessments, emissions reductions, and adaptation planning. 

We hear repeatedly, in different ways, that what practitioners most need are financial resources to have the capacity to act, yet we know relatively little about if/how transportation infrastructure planners use climate information and what the relationship is between funding and information demand.

Locations of survey respondents for the transportation investigation

This research uses the recent allocation of federal resources to understand whether investments significantly increase the demand for climate information and decision support among transportation planners.  

More specifically, our aim for this investigation is to understand how transportation professionals use climate science, where it comes from, how it is used, what decision support would be most useful, and how recent investments impact the demand for and use of climate information. 

Our research team conducted an online survey of transportation professionals from each of the Federal Transit Authority’s list of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO). MPOs facilitate transportation planning in all urbanized areas of the country with populations over 50,000. A description of the study, including a link to the survey, was emailed to approximately 374 MPO transportation professionals in the spring of 2023, and a total of 105 respondents from 40 states completed the survey. 

Survey results are currently being analyzed. For more information on this investigation, contact kelli.archie@agci.org.

Transportation and Infrastructure Planning Investigation Team

Kelli M Archie

Aspen Global Change Institute (AGCI)
Research Affiliate

James C. Arnott

Aspen Global Change Institute (AGCI)
Executive Director

Julie Vano

Aspen Global Change Institute (AGCI)
Research Director