August 2020
Vol 6, Issue 32

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER Rising sea levels raise the risk of flooding in low-lying coastal areas such as the San Francisco Bay Area, potentially disrupting urban traffic networks. When flooded roads are closed, they can create ripple effects in surrounding communities, causing employees to miss work and triggering travel delays. To better understand how near-future flooding may impact the San Francisco Bay Area, Indraneel Kasmalkar and colleagues integrated a traffic model with flood maps representing potential combinations of storm surges, tides, seasonal cycles, interannual anomalies driven by large-scale climate variability such as the El Niño Southern Oscillation, and sea level rise. The researchers found that road network connectivity–not flood exposure itself–determines commute delays in the event of a flood, with improvements in road network connectivity bolstering traffic resilience to hazards. This finding suggests coastal communities at risk for flooding–in coordination with local governments farther inland–may prepare for the future by improving road infrastructure. [CREDIT: JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES]