Environment Systems and Decisions

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 540–554 | Cite as

Climate and other scenarios disrupt priorities in several management perspectives

  • Haowen You
  • Elizabeth B. Connelly
  • James H. Lambert
  • Andres F. Clarens


Climate vulnerability and adaptation assessments are increasingly typical of infrastructure agencies. In contrast to global emissions reductions, adaptation decision making tends to occur on smaller geographic scales and nearer time horizons. The supporting analyses are performed by local agencies with relatively sparse data and few resources. Recent efforts of the authors introduced scenario-based preferences to perform risk analysis for these agencies in a single perspective, updating management priorities when climate and non-climate stressors combine. On the other hand, a single perspective fails to account for the complexities of infrastructures, organizations, and stakeholders. Several perspectives should include asset management, project selection, policy-making, demography/geography, research and development, and others. This paper develops a framework to address several management perspectives, finding the implications of climate and other conditions to update agency priorities. The framework is demonstrated for a twenty-year transportation plan with approximately 600 square miles in the mid-Atlantic region of the USA. The demonstration includes that a scenario of climate combined with increased travel demand is relatively more influential across several perspectives, when considering climate both alone and in combination with each of economic recession, wear and tear, and ecosystem stressors.


Risk analysis Emergent conditions Vulnerability assessment Multicriteria decision analysis Resource allocation Scenario-based preferences 



This case study was funded in part by the US Federal Highway Administration, climate change vulnerability, and risk assessment project (Project No. 136780). The authors are grateful to the support of Benjamin McFarlane and others of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC), the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO), the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), and the Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research (VCTIR). The authors give special thanks to Dr. Christopher J. Karvetski for consulting on the methodology.


  1. Allen Consulting Group (2003) Climate change risk and vulnerability: promoting an efficient adaptation response in Australia. Report to the Australian Greenhouse Office, Department of the Environment and Heritage. ISBN: 1 920840 94 XGoogle Scholar
  2. Andrey J, Knapper C (2003) Motorists’ perceptions of and responses to weather hazards. In: Andrey J, Knapper C (eds.) Weather and transportation in Canada. Department of Geography Publications Series Number 55. University of Waterloo: WaterlooGoogle Scholar
  3. Attavanich W, McCarl BA, Ahmedov Z, Fuller SW, Vedenov DV (2013) Effects of climate change on US grain transport. Nat Clim Change 3:638–643CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Belton V (1999) Multi-criteria problem structuring and analysis in a value theory framework. In: Gal T, Stewart T, Hanne T (eds) Multicriteria Decis. Mak. SE-12. Springer US. International series in operations research & management science, vol 21, pp 335–366. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4615-5025-9_12
  5. Belton V, Stewart TJ (2002) Multiple criteria decision analysis, an integrated approach. Kluwer Academic Publishers, MassachusettsCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berkhout F, van den Hurk B, Bessembinder J, de Boer J, Bregman B, van Drunen M (2014) Framing climate uncertainty: socio-economic and climate scenarios in vulnerability and adaptation assessments. Reg Environ Change 14(3):879–893Google Scholar
  7. Bishop P, Hines A, Collins T (2007) The current states of scenario development: an overview of techniques. Foresight 9(1):5–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Burton I, Malone E, Huq S, Lim B, Spanger-Siegfried E (2005) Adaptation policy frameworks for climate change: developing strategies, policies and measures. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  9. Chok NS (2010) Pearson’s versus Spearman’s and Kendall’s correlation coefficients for continuous data. Master’s Thesis, University of PittsburghGoogle Scholar
  10. Church JA, Clark PU, Cazenave A, Gregory JM, Jevrejeva S, Levermann A, Merrifield MA, Milne GA, Nerem RS, Nunn PD, Payne AJ, Pfeffer WT, Stammer D, Unnikrishnan AS (2013) Sea level change. In: Stocker TF, Qin D, Plattner G-K, Tignor M, Allen SK, Boschung J, Nauels A, Xia Y, Bex V, Midgley PM (eds) Climate change 2013: the physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USAGoogle Scholar
  11. Desantis LRG, Bhotika S, Williams K, Putz FE (2007) Sea-level rise and drought interactions accelerate forest decline on the Gulf Coast of Florida, USA. Global Change Biol 13:2349–2360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Füssel HM (2007) Vulnerability: a generally applicable conceptual framework for climate change research. Global Environ Change 17(2):155–167Google Scholar
  13. Fussel HM, Klein RJT (2005) Climate change vulnerability assessments: an evolution of conceptual thinking. Clim Change 75(3):301–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hamilton MC, Thekdi SA, Jenicek EM, Harmon RS, Goodsite ME, Case MP, Karvetski CW, Lambert JH (2013) Case studies of scenario analysis for adaptive management of natural resource and infrastructure systems. Environ Syst Decis 33:89–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hamilton MC, Lambert JH, Keisler JM, Holcomb FH, Linkov I (2014) Research and development priorities for energy islanding of military and industrial installations. ASCE J Infrastruct Syst 19:297–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (2010) Climate change in hampton roads—phase I: impact and stakeholder involvement. Accessed online 1/12/2012. <>
  17. Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, HRPDC (2011) Climate change in hampton roads—phase II: storm surge vulnerability and public outreach. Accessed online 1/12/2012. <>
  18. Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO) (2011a) Prioritization of transportation projects: project evaluation and scoring. Accessed online 1/12/2012. <>
  19. Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO) (2011b) Prioritization of transportation projects: input data. Accessed online 1/12/2012. <>
  20. Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO) (2012) Assessing vulnerability and risk of climate change effects on transportation infrastructure. Accessed online 1/12/2012. <>
  21. Ibarrarán ME, Malone EL, Brenkert AL (2008) Climate change vulnerability and resilience: current status and trends for Mexico (PNNL-18136). US Dept of Energy and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Retrieved from CAKE.
  22. IPCC (2013) Climate change 2013: the physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In: Stocker TF, Qin D, Plattner G-K, Tignor M, Allen SK, Boschung J, Nauels A, Xia Y, Bex V, Midgley PM (eds). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USAGoogle Scholar
  23. Karvetski CW, Lambert JH (2012) Evaluating deep uncertainties in strategic priority-setting with an application to facility energy investments. Syst Eng 15(4):483–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Karvetski CW, Lambert JH, Linkov I (2009) Emergent conditions and multicriteria analysis in infrastructure prioritization for developing countries. J Mult Criteria Decis Anal 16(5):125–137Google Scholar
  25. Karvetski CW, Lambert JH, Keisler JM, Sexauer B, Linkov I (2011a) Climate change scenarios: risk and impact analysis for Alaska coastal infrastructure. Int J Risk Assess Manag 15(2/3):258–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Karvetski CW, Lambert JH, Keisler JM, Linkov I (2011b) Integration of decision analysis and scenario planning for coastal engineering and climate change. IEEE Trans Syst Man Cybern Part A 41(1):63–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Karvetski CW, Lambert JH, Linkov I (2011c) Scenario and multiple criteria decision analysis for energy and environmental security of military and industrial installations. Integr Environ Assess Manag 7(2):228–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Keeney RL (1971) Utility independence and preferences for multiattributed consequences. Oper Res 19(4):875–893CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Keeney RL (2012) Value-focused brainstorming. Decis Anal 9(4):303–313Google Scholar
  30. Keeney RL, Raiffa H (1993) Decisions with multiple objectives: preferences and value trade-offs. Cambridge University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kirshen P, Ruth M, Anderson W (2006) Climate’s long-term impacts on urban infrastructures and services: the case of Metro Boston, Chapter 7. In: Ruth M, Donaghy K, Kirshen PH (eds) Climate. Edward Elgar Publishers, CheltenhamGoogle Scholar
  32. Klein RJT (2004) Approaches, methods and tools for climate change impact, vulnerability and adaptation assessment. Keynote lecture to the In-Session Workshop on Impacts of, and Vulnerability and Adaptation to, Climate Change. Vol. 8Google Scholar
  33. Klein RJ, Eriksen SE, Næss LO, Hammill A, Tanner TM, Robledo C, O’Brien KL (2007) Portfolio screening to support the mainstreaming of adaptation to climate change into development assistance. Clim change 84(1):23–44Google Scholar
  34. Lambert JH, Karvetski CW, Spencer DK, Sotirin BJ, Liberi DM, Zaghloul HH, Koogler JB, Huner SL, Goran WD, Ditmer RD, Linkov I (2012) Prioritizing infrastructure investments in Afghanistan with multiagency stakeholders and deep uncertainty of emergent conditions. ASCE J Infrast Syst 18(2):155–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lambert JH, Keisler JM, Wheeler WE, Collier ZA, Linkov I (2013a) Multiscale approach to the security of hardware supply chains for energy systems. Environ Syst Decis 33:326–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lambert JH, Wu YJ, You H, Clarens A, Smith B (2013b) Climate change influence on priority setting for transportation infrastructure assets. ASCE J Infrast Syst 19:36–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Larsen PH, Goldsmith S, Smith O, Wilson ML, Strzepek K, Chinowsky P, Saylor B (2008) Estimating future costs for Alaska public infrastructure at risk from climate change. Global Environ Change 18(3):442–457Google Scholar
  38. Laurencelle L (2009) Le tau et le tau-b de kendall pour la corrélation de variables ordinales simples ou catégorielles. Tutor Quant Methods Psychol 5:51–58Google Scholar
  39. Lung T, Lavalle C, Hiederer R, Dosio A, Bouwer L (2013) A multi-hazard regional level impact assessment for Europe combining indicators of climatic and non-climatic change. Global Clim Change 22(2):522–536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Martinez LJ, Lambert JH, Karvetski C (2011) Scenario-informed multiple criteria analysis for prioritizing investments in electricity capacity expansion. Reliab Eng Syst Saf 96:883–891CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Mashayekh Y, Jaramillo P, Samaras C, Hendrickson CT, Blackhurst M, MacLean HL, Matthews HS (2012) Potentials for sustainable transportation in cities to alleviate climate change impacts. Environ Sci Technol 46:2529–2537CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. McFarlane BJ, Walberg EJ (2010) Climate change in hampton roads: impacts and stakeholder involvement. Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC), ChesapeakeGoogle Scholar
  43. Næss LO, Norland IT, Lafferty WM, Aall C (2006) Data and processes linking vulnerability assessment to adaptation decision-making on climate change in Norway. Global Environ Change 16(2):221–233Google Scholar
  44. North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) (2011) Climate change vulnerability and risk assessment of New Jersey’s transportation infrastructure. Accessed online 5/31/2012. <>
  45. Schroeder MJ, Lambert JH (2011) Scenario-based multiple criteria analysis for infrastructure policy impacts and planning. J Risk Res 14(2):191–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Somers RH (1962) A new asymmetric measure of association for ordinal variables. Am Sociol Rev 27:799–811Google Scholar
  47. Stewart TJ (1996) Relationships between data envelopment analysis and multicriteria decision analysis. J Oper Res Soc 47(5):654–665Google Scholar
  48. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (2009) Coastal sensitivity to sea-level rise a focus on the Mid-Atlantic region. Accessed online 1/15/2012. <>
  49. U.S. Federal Highway Administration (2011) Assessing vulnerability and risk of climate change effects on transportation infrastructure: pilot of the conceptual model. Accessed 1/10/2011. <>
  50. Vervoort JM, Thornton PK, Kristjanson P, Forch W, Ericksen PJ, Kok K, Ingram JSI, Herrero M, Palazzo A, Helfgott AES, Wilkinson A, Havlik P, Mason-D’Croz D, Jost C (2014) Challenges to scenario-guided adaptive action on food security under climate change. Global Environ Change 28:383–394Google Scholar
  51. Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) (2011) Climate impacts vulnerability assessment. Accessed online 5/30/2012. <>
  52. You H, Lambert JH, Clarens AF, McFarlane B (2014) Quantifying the influence of climate change to priorities for infrastructure projects. IEEE Trans Syst Man Cybern Syst 44(2):133–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haowen You
    • 1
  • Elizabeth B. Connelly
    • 1
  • James H. Lambert
    • 2
  • Andres F. Clarens
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Risk Management of Engineering SystemsUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Systems and Information EngineeringUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations