A DMDU Guidebook for Transportation Planning Under a Changing Climate

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Lempert, Robert J.;
Prosdocimi, Diogo
Feb 2021
Lefevre, Benoit; Monter Flores, Ernesto
The effects of climate-related natural hazards pose a significant threat to sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region and in particular its transportation sector. Risk Management provides an appropriate framework for assessing and mitigating the impacts of climate change and other climate-related natural hazards on transportation systems and choosing actions to enhance their resilience.
However, analysts and policymakers involved in transportation planning, policy, and investment face significant challenges in managing the risks triggered by the effects of climate change. Climate change impacts the lifespan of roads, airports, and railroads as they have time horizons that surpass 40 years, thus making it harder (if not impossible) to forecast with confidence all relevant future events that will affect such infrastructure. In addition, the climate has already changed, so the return frequency of storms, for example, and other extreme events may now be different than suggested by the historical record in ways that are not always currently well understood. Implementing Risk Management under conditions of such uncertainty can prove difficult.
Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty (DMDU) enables Risk Management under conditions of Deep Uncertainty, that is when risks cannot confidently be quantified.
This guidebook is aligned with the Disaster and Climate Change Risk Assessment Methodology for IDB projects (IDB 2018) and introduces and provides guidance on applying methods for Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty (DMDU) to transportation planning. It presents the methodological steps that are necessary for the implementation of DMDU methodologies and reviews several such methods, including scenario planning, Adaptive Pathways, and robust decision making (RDM). This review is geared towards supporting the incorporation of DMDU methods into IDBs transportation sector funding and planning processes.