Climate protection
and resilience

Each goal has strategies specific to achieving it. Many of those strategies apply to multiple goals. Throughout the planning process, we identified a set of broader strategies that may not be specific to a goal or set of goals but underlie the entire plan and play an important role in realizing our regional vision.

Promote climate protection and resilience

The overwhelming majority of scientists agree that changes in global climate can be mainly attributed to human activities, primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels. In 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) greenhouse gas inventory showed that the transportation sector is the now largest producer of greenhouse gases, surpassing those produced by the energy sector.

Kansas City continues to grow and prosper as is evident by increases in population and employment throughout the region. Accordingly, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) continues to trend upward in our region. This trend poses a sizeable challenge in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero levels or lower. To protect the climate, be more adaptive and build resilience, the Kansas City region will need to aggressively respond by enacting smart strategies coupled with strong regional coordination among our local communities.

As atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations rise, the Kansas City area should expect an increase in the number and severity of primary natural hazards as well as amplified risks to our region’s residents, ecosystems, and infrastructure.

Air Quality Monitoring

Expected climate change impacts on the Kansas City region:

  • An increase in average annual temperature.
  • An increase in days with temperatures reaching over 105°F.
  • An increase in the number of days of high precipitation (above 1.5 inches).
  • A decrease in the number of cold days (below 65°F).

Climate change is already causing more flooding and extreme temperature-related infrastructure failures, posing significant risks to transportation performance and capacity over time. As transportation systems modernize, a mix of nature-based design strategies and technology improvements can make the region’s transportation systems more resilient to these expected weather events.

The Connected KC 2050 plan takes a multi-pronged approach to building resilience, reducing climate risks to transportation infrastructure and area communities while also ensuring that the transportation system’s impact on the climate decreases significantly over time. The approach can be summarized by avoid, shift, improve and drawdown:

  • Avoid — Reduce or avoid the need to travel.
  • Shift — Shift to and increase the share of more environmentally friendly modes.
  • Improve — Improve the energy efficiency of transportation modes and vehicle technology.
  • Drawdown — Sequester or draw down greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.

In addition to strategies related to green infrastructure and stormwater management, it’s important to focus on mode choice and system efficiency enhancements in order to mitigate and adapt to environmental impacts from our transportation system

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