Transportation

Impacts

  • Transportation Investment: Transportation in Nova Scotia is a big economic driver. With annual expenditures often exceeding $1 billion, this sector contributes about 2.5% of Canada’s GDP, and over 4% of Nova Scotia’s GDP.  Climate change impacts on transportation affect all other economic sectors, including manufacturing, tourism, urban growth, supplies, and trade.
  • Infrastructure: Roads and rail are vulnerable to climate change impacts such as hot weather failure, frost heave, sea-level rise, flooding, storm damage, and coastal erosion. Roads near the Atlantic coast as well as the Bay of Fundy have already been moved or abandoned due to erosion.
  • Protecting Structures: Agricultural dykes in the Chignecto Isthmus have helped protect land and major Trans-Canada transportation routes (such as the CN Rail, Highway 104 and Route 366 – the only routes linking Nova Scotia to the rest of Canada) from erosion and flooding, but these dykes were built more than 50 years ago and were not designed to protect transportation and other public and private infrastructure.  Over the years, non-agricultural use of the dykelands has increased substantially.  The federal government restructured many of the dykes in the 1950s, to then current requirements.  Since then, insufficient budgets have led to deteriorated dykes and insufficient planning for climate projections.
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  • Transit Routes: Waterways may experience less ice in winter and open opportunities for shipping, but increased storm frequency and altered sedimentation patterns may increase the demand for emergency services.  Air travel too may be greatly affected by fog and storms.

Adaptation

  • Change Transit Paths:  Re-route transportation lanes and infrastructure at risk.
  • Improve Infrastructure Design: Ensure engineering design standards for transportation infrastructure are robust enough to cope with climate extremes and variability in Nova Scotia.
  • Protect:  Explore using hard and soft measures to protect infrastructure at risk.
  • Take Advantage: Work with local communities to take advantage of new opportunities that may result from changes to our transportation infrastructure.