BART Sea Level Rise and Flooding Resiliency Study

 

 

SB1 Adaptation Planning Grant: Initial Case Study

Challenge: Developing plans and strategies

 

Summary

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) will assess vulnerability and risks of four critical BART systems: stations, trackway, train control, and traction power. Seven vulnerable locations identified by the BART Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP) will be assessed. The project will formulate both physical and non-physical adaptation strategies specific to elements of station access, trackway ballast, train control interlocking, and traction power contact rails. The findings from the project will inform the infrastructure rebuilding work supported by BART‘s $3.5 billion bond measure approved by voters last year. The project area overlaps with vulnerable communities, who will benefit from adaptation efforts by ensuring vulnerable communities have access to BART transit services following a flooding event. 

Project objectives and outcomes include:

  1. Assess vulnerability and risk for the year 2050 and 2100 for sea level rise (SLR) and flooding in the BART system;

  2. Develop adaptation options for each site;

  3. Understand feasibility of adaptation options weighing cost, constructability, operational factors;

  4. Develop information and facilitate discussion for incorporation into capital improvement programs and plans.

Project is expected to start in May 2018 and be completed by February 2020.

The project’s efforts align with Executive Order (EO)-S-13-08 for supporting regional adaptation and with EO-B-30-15 by protecting the region’s key public transit system.  The project aligns with the California Transportation Plan’s 2040 goal to preserve multimodal transportation systems.

Lead Agency and Partnerships

BART is the lead agency on the project. BART will collaborate with local and regional entities including the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA. Coordination is necessary to synchronize this project with other planning efforts, including the Plan Bay Area, Connect SF, the Bay Area Resilient By Design challenge, the Adapting to Rising Tides (ART) Bay Area Project, and the San Francisco Seawall Resilience Project.

The project will also collaborate with existing planning efforts, including efforts by BCDC, San Francisco City and County, and others.

Drivers

According to the State of California Sea-Level Rise Guidance Document (2013), SLR upper range projections are 24 inches by mid-century (2050), and 66 inches by end of century (2100). Without intervention, rising sea levels will result in more frequent and longer flooding of existing flood-prone areas, shoreline erosion, elevated groundwater, and permanent inundation in coastal zones.

The SB 1 Climate Adaptation Planning Grant Program was a key driver for advancing addressing the risks of flood and sea level rise. This funding opportunity allowed BART to move forward with advancing adaptation planning efforts.  

Engagement Process

The project will engage with internal departments and other agencies at various project stages, including vulnerability assessment, adaptation development, and feasibility assessment.

In addition, the project will engage the local community through the Title VI/Environmental Justice Advisory Committee. The Title VI/Environmental Justice Advisory Committee consists of members from community‐based organizations that represent Title VI and Environmental Justice populations within the BART service area. The Committee serves as a forum for public participation for the District on issues related to its Environmental Justice and Title VI Programs. This project will work with and engage in transit-oriented development (TOD) planning processes where applicable. Engagement with the local community will inform the planning process, helping to ensure that adaptation planning will serve the community.

BART services disadvantaged communities throughout the region. According to BART customer surveying, BART’s customer base is approximately 62% minority, as compared to about 60% in the service area, according to the 2011 American Community Survey (ACS).  (Note: the 2011 ACS estimate is slightly higher than the 2010 Census figure used elsewhere in this report, which places the minority population at 59.4%.)

BART customers are more likely to have household incomes under $30,000 a year, and less likely to have household incomes of $100,000 or more a year.  Approximately 43% of BART’s riders have household incomes under $50,000 vs. 36% of four-county residents.

Climate Impact Area

BART will assess the system against the sea level rise and flooding in the 2050 and 2100 time horizons. According to the State of California Sea-Level Rise Guidance Document (2013), SLR upper range projections are 24 inches by mid-century (Year 2050), and 66 inches by end of century (Year 2100). Without intervention, rising sea levels will cause more frequent and longer flooding of existing flood-prone areas, shoreline erosion, elevate groundwater, and permanent inundation in the coastal zones.

Findings from the project will be used to inform and update capital improvement programs and plans.

Funding Source

The total Project cost is $650,000. BART received $500,000 from the Caltrans Adaptation Planning Grant for the Project.  The local match of $150,000 will be provided by BART through staff time and resources.

Research and Data

The project will build upon several existing studies and reports including the FTA BART Adaptation Pilot (BART), the BART Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (BART), the San Bruno Colma Creek Resiliency Study (San Mateo County), Climate Change and Extreme Weather Adaptation Options (MTC), the San Francisco Sea Level Rise Action Plan (City and County San Francisco), and Adapting to Rising Tides Project (BCDC).

State and federal resources include CalAdapt (State), State of California Sea level Rise Guidance Document (State), Floodproofing Non Residential Buildings (FEMA), Identifying Adaptation Strategies, California Adaptation Planning Guide (CalOES),

Challenges

Buy-in will be a challenging aspect of this project in an agency with many urgent priorities. The project will engage internal stakeholders early and have a robust engineering approach to this study in order to demonstrate a strong case for adaptation.    

Outcomes

See Project Objectives and Outcomes under Brief Summary.

The Project will advance BART’s resiliency against sea level rise and flooding. The project also provide an example that other agencies in similar positions may follow.   

Replicability

The approach used in conducting vulnerability assessment, engagement process, adaptation development, adaptation option assessment, may be replicated for any agency. Agencies with a lot of critical infrastructure and similar governance structure will study findings to be most applicable.

Additional Resources

FTA BART Adaptation Pilot (BART)           
BART Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (BART)       
San Bruno Colma Creek Resiliency Study (San Mateo County)
Climate Change and Extreme Weather Adaptation Options (MTC)            
San Francisco Sea Level Rise Action Plan (City and County San Francisco)          
Adapting to Rising Tides Project (BCDC)
 

Further Information

For questions please contact Norman Wong at nwong@bart.gov, 510.287.4741, or alternatively Tian Feng at tfeng@bart.gov, 510.464.6549.