What drives public transit organizations in the United States to adapt to extreme weather events?

Qing Miao, Eric Welch, Fengxiu Zhang, P. S. Sriraj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Extreme weather events often disrupt the operation of public transit systems, and challenge the capacity of transit agencies to effectively respond to them. In this paper, we draw upon a recent nationwide survey of 273 public transit agencies in metropolitan regions across the United States to understand the factors that influence their scope of adaptation to anticipated climate risks. We find that a transit agency undertakes more adaptation measures when transit officials perceive greater risks and greater adaptive capacity of the agency, or when it experiences more severe extreme weather events. We also show that local institutional environment, in particular, political ideology, affects the scope of transit adaptation activities. Transit agencies that operate in more politically liberal counties tend to engage in more adaptation actions, while the effect of state-level ideology depends on the level of perceived influence from state governments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-260
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018


  • Climate adaptation
  • Extreme weather events
  • Political ideology
  • Public transit
  • Risk perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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