Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

William R. Travis

Second Advisor

Paul Chinowsky

Third Advisor

Seth E. Spielman


Adaptations in infrastructure may be necessitated by changes in precipitation patterns to ensure that investments offer remain cost effective. The timing of individual adaptations will vary and can be described as being anticipatory, concurrent, or reactive. Furthermore, climate change adaptation can be implemented as flexible or monolithic policies. Here we examine the interaction of culvert characteristics and the timing of adaptation under varying climate change using a virtual testbed of drainage crossings.

We find that existing characteristics can have a greater impact on the success of strategies than the amount of climate change. Furthermore we find that crossing characteristics can be used as a decision criterion to effectively choose the timing of strategies even if the future climate is unknown. We explore the implications of this as a cost-effective adaptation strategy for agencies building long-lived climate sensitive infrastructure, especially where detailed system data and analytical capacity is limited.