National Survey of US Public Transit Agency Experience with and Response to Extreme Weather Events

extreme-weather-survey-chartExtreme weather events pose serious challenges public transit systems. They disrupt transit operations, impair service quality, increase threats to public safety, and damage infrastructure.  This report presents findings from a June 2016 national survey of public transit agencies in the United States to understand what types of extreme weather transit agencies are experiencing, what risks are associated with extreme events and how they are responding or preparing for them.

The survey collected data from approximately 900 transit professionals who work in planning, operation, maintenance, and engineering in 273 transit agencies in the U.S.  Survey items captured data on recent experiences with extreme weather events, perception of weather risks to the local transit system, assessment of the agency’s capacity and challenges in dealing with weather risks, and organizational responses and adaption to extreme weather events and potential climate risks. A total of 352 individuals representing 197 transit agencies responded to the survey (41% response rate) resulting in a rich and unique dataset on extreme weather and transit.

Principal Investigator(s):

Eric Welch, PhD
Director, Center for Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Studies
Arizona State University

P.S. Sriraj, PhD
Director, Urban Transportation Center
University of Illinois at Chicago

Participants:

Eric Welch, PhD
Director, Center for Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Studies
Arizona State University

P.S. Sriraj, PhD
Director, Urban Transportation Center
University of Illinois at Chicago

Qing Miao, PhD
Center for Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Studies
Arizona State University

Fengxiu Zhang, PhD Student
Center for Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Studies
Arizona State University

Status:

09/05/2016

Objective:

This report provides a descriptive summary and assessment of aggregate survey responses. Findings are presented in four parts: recent experience with extreme weather; perception of weather and climatic risks; assessment of organizational priority, capacity and challenge of managing extreme weather; organizational responses and adaptation to extreme weather events. Sections are summarized briefly here, while more detail is presented in the full report.

 

Expected Results or Products:

Several key findings were made from the national survey including: recent experiences with extreme weather events, perception of weather risks to the local transit system, assessment of the agency’s capacity and challenges in dealing with weather risks, and organizational responses and adaption to extreme weather events and potential weather risks. The survey provided the following definition of Extreme Weather Events for respondents: “Extreme weather events include unusually severe storms, floods, heat waves or other weather incidents that lie outside of historic norms or experience.”

Download:

Download the report

Contact:

P.S. Sriraj
Urban Transportation Center
University of Illinois at Chicago
412 South Peoria Street, Suite 340
Chicago, IL 60607
Voice: (312) 355-0019
Fax: (312) 413-0006
Email: sriraj@uic.edu

Sponsors:

Center for Urban Transportation Research
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