VTrans Vulnerability Assessment
VTrans identifies vulnerabilities of the Commonwealth’s Transportation infrastructure to flooding in coastal areas due to sea level rise and storm surge events, as well as inland flooding.
In December of 2018, the Commonwealth Transportation Board took action to approve the VTrans Implementation Plan, which outlined key initiatives and specific actions to advance the VTrans Guiding Principles. The VTrans Vulnerability Assessment has been done in accordance with VTrans Implementation Plan item “to complete a resiliency assessment of Virginia’s multimodal network from a transportation planning perspective.”
Purpose and Limitations
This is a screening-level assessment of the vulnerability of Virginia’s transportation system, more specifically all public roadways and VDOT-maintained structures (bridges and culverts) covered in the National Bridge Inventory (NBI), to projected sea level rise, storm surge, and inland/riverine flooding scenarios. The focus is on identifying and conveying the relative magnitude of risks to the transportation system to:
- Increase awareness;
- Develop VTrans Strategic Actions to increase readiness; and,
- Identify areas for data and research to improve accuracy and reliability of forecasted vulnerabilities.
The VTrans Vulnerability Assessment is not intended to be used to develop location-specific recommendations for the following reasons:
- While this screening-level assessment narrows the universe of transportation infrastructure for further review, it does not replace the need for the collection of more precise location-specific data.
- The transportation system is one of the many infrastructure components impacted by the forecasted vulnerabilities. Therefore, it would be advisable to conduct a more comprehensive area-wide assessment for all components of physical and social infrastructure as some vulnerability mitigation strategies might require systematic solutions such as perimeter protection.
Draft Definitions of Vulnerability and Resiliency
- Vulnerability: Vulnerability is a function of exposure to a hazard(s), the sensitivity to the given hazard, and adaptive capacity or the system’s ability to cope.
- Resiliency: Resiliency is the capability to anticipate, prepare for, respond to and recover from extreme weather event(s) with minimum damage to social well-being, infrastructure, the economy, and the environment.
The definition of vulnerability is based on the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) definition that breaks down vulnerability as a function of an asset or system’s exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity
- Sea Level Rise
- Storm Surge
- Inland/Riverine Flooding
Frequently Asked Questions
Looking for more answers to specific questions about VTrans Vulnerability Assessment? Find more information on our Frequently Asked Questions page here: https://vtrans.org/get-involved/frequently-asked-questions.