Risk Analysis and Responding to Climate Change

Project Summary


In Production

Research Area

Environmental protection

Responsible Council / Committee

Environment Council / Environmental Issues Management Standing Committee

Related TAC publications

Synthesis of Environmental Management Practices for Road Construction, Operation and Maintenance (2014)
Climate Change and Road Safety: Projections within Urban Areas (2013) 
Environmental Management Systems User Guide
for transportation practitioners (2008)
Development of Winter Severity Indicator Models for Canadian Winter Road Maintenance (2007)

Project Funding Partners

Transport Canada; TransLink; Prince Edward Island Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy; Ministry of Transportation, Ontario; Ministère des Transports, de la Mobilité durable et de l’Électrification des transports du Québec; Ville de Montréal; City of Toronto; Region of Durham; Manitoba Infrastructure

Staff Contact


Transportation infrastructure, including highways, roads and bridges as well as transit and traffic control systems is critical to the mobility needs of Canada's population and economy.  It is vitally important to maintain this infrastructure in a state of good repair, but it is also incumbent on owners and operators of this infrastructure to protect against the effects of more frequent severe weather events resulting from climate change. With limited funding, this challenge requires a rational solution to address the highest priorities and risks.

It is forecast that climate change will increase significantly in the coming decades.  Decisions made today regarding capital investments, program delivery and relationships with key partners will be important in ensuring that risks are reduced and resilience to climate change is improved.  While TAC, through its councils, standing committees and the Climate Change Task Force, has developed some insight into how a changing climate might affect transportation infrastructure and services, a standardized approach to determine risks and possible solutions would bring a greater understanding of what is at risk, why it is important to act, and what could be done.

Development of a climate change risk assessment process and tool is recommended to allow transportation agencies to determine the risks to their infrastructure, services or operating practices related to climate change.  Using the City of Toronto’s Climate Change Ris Assessment Tool as a foundation, the objective of the project would be to customize this tool to help identify environmental and climate change risks and assess benefits of various mitigating and adaptive actions.

Key tasks in the project will include:

  • Review of the City of Toronto’s Climate Change Risk Assessment Tool (built on a MS Access platform) ith respect to data  availability and applicability;
  • Further development and customization of the risk assessment process and tool suitable for evaluating transportation infrastructure assets and services in Canada; and
  • Development of a user guide to enable agencies to easily understand and apply the  proposed tool

The project deliverables will be a nationally applicable climate change risk assessment tool and an accompanying user guide for transportation agencies in Canada.