The N.C. Department of Transportation recognizes global climate change brings increased risk of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and flooding.
The occurrence of more severe weather poses a significant challenge to NCDOT’s mission of “connecting people, products, and places safely and efficiently with customer focus, accountability and environmental sensitivity to enhance the economy and vitality of North Carolina.”
Extreme weather potentially threatens the state’s transportation infrastructure, from the mountains to the coast. That is why the department is constantly working on its ability to anticipate and prepare for extreme events. NCDOT continues to be resilient in the face of violent weather, responding to any disruptions and rapidly recovering from them.
Much of the department’s work has been focused on assessing vulnerabilities exposed by recent weather events and then considering the best strategies for responding and for adopting new highway designs that improve the state’s transportation network.
On Oct. 29, 2018, Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law Executive Order No. 80, “North Carolina’s Commitment to Address Climate Change and Transition to a Clean Energy Economy.” The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality has created a website to provide more information about the order and its impact on state agencies.
In response to the executive order, NCDOT has started formulating additional strategies that seek to ensure it is better prepared to adapt to a changing environment. One of the stategies is to encourage more people to register and drive zero-emission vehicles.
The department will leverage its existing long-range planning efforts, such as NC Moves 2050, to identify short-term, near-term and longer-term initiatives that promote and facilitate the reduction of carbon emissions across all the agency’s modes of transportation.
Internally, NCDOT will study how to make its buildings, equipment and other facilities more energy-efficient. The department also is actively participating on the North Carolina Climate Change Interagency Council, which was formed by his executive order.