Climate change & transportation

Understanding future climate threats is essential for a safe and sustainable transportation system.

Climate change studies

We maintain and operate the state’s highway system as climate change brings new challenges: damage from extreme storms, sea level rise and increased wildfire activity. These studies helped us understand these risks to our transportation system and inform projects so they can address potential hazards.

Climate Impacts Vulnerability Assessment Report

We completed a statewide assessment of climate vulnerability of state-owned transportation assets. The Climate Impacts Vulnerability Assessment Report (PDF 5.6MB) includes a qualitative assessment of all state highways.

Creating a Resilient Transportation Network in Skagit County: Using Flood Studies to Inform Transportation Asset Management

This project applied Federal Highways Administration’s (FHWA) framework for adaptation planning and decision making. Our team created a process that helps transportation planners better connect information across sectors (in this case hydraulic data) and coordinate long-term solutions to extreme events. 

Creating a Resilient Transportation Network in Skagit County: Using Flood Studies to Inform Transportation Asset Management (PDF 13MB)

Report without appendices (PDF 5.2MB)

Climate Change and Innovative Stormwater Control

Climate Change and Innovative Stormwater Control (PDF 3.2MB) compares the conceptual climate risk assessment models developed in the United States and in Europe for transportation infrastructure. It also provides feedback on tools developed by the FHWA. This report is part of an information exchange between WSDOT, FHWA and Rijkswaterstaat, the highway agency of The Netherlands.

Guidance for planners and project teams

WSDOT considers future climate risks during project design and when preparing long-term plans. We document how climate change and extreme weather vulnerability are considered and propose ways to improve resilience. For more information, visit our Addressing climate change webpage.

We also consider the greenhouse gas emissions from projects. Find more information on how we do this on our Air quality, greenhouse gas and energy webpage.


Traction tires are a special type of tire

manufactured with at least 1/8 of an inch tread. Traction tires are usually marked with a mountain/snowflake symbol, the letters M+S or “All Season.”

Carry chains, practice before leaving

Requiring chains keeps traffic moving during storms rather than closing a pass or roadway.

Prep your car. Fill up your gas tank,

pack jumper cables, ice scraper, warm clothing, snacks and water.