TransLink Climate Action Plan

In December 2022, TransLink (officially known as the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority), released its Climate Action Plan (CAP) outlining steps over the next three years to help the organization achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and become resilient to the impacts of climate change. Following the adoption of TransLink’s Climate Adaptation Strategy in January of 2022, the CAP provides a progress update and sets more detailed actions to pursue climate resilience and net-zero in the public transportation system.

TransLink’s multi-modal regional transportation operations span 21 municipalities and serves 2.5 million people with over 18,000 square kilometers. TransLink’s operational footprint includes over 2000 buses and shuttles, 400 support vehicles, 382 SkyTrain cars, 239 facilities, 50 West Coast Express cars and locomotives, and four marine vessels.

TransLink’s approach based on the three pillars of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to climate impacts, and advancing governance and funding, accelerates climate action with a focus on climate adaptation resilience. Strategies to adapt to climate change include developing a roadmap that identifies climate impacts and hazards to operations, supporting and adopting a low-carbon economy, integrating climate change projections into operations, policies, and decision-making frameworks, enhancing climate change education and communication, and securing funding for net-zero and climate resilience.

As part of the CAP development, TransLink conducted a high-level Climate Impacts Risk Assessment based on climate change projections from Metro Vancouver’s climate projections report from 2016. The projections, including increased annual and seasonal temperature and precipitation, increased frequency of extreme weather events, and sea level rise, were used to identify climate impacts to key assets and vulnerabilities across the transit and transportation system, and to subsequently inform the over 48 actions listed throughout the plan.

Many of the actions identified in the CAP are currently ongoing, with implementation timeframes for new actions beginning as early as January of 2023 and beyond 2025.

Understanding and Assessing Impacts

TransLink utilized Metro Vancouver’s climate projections on a 30-year timeframe out to 2050 to determine climate impacts on infrastructure, facilities, operations, employees, and customers. Metro Vancouver used climate data from the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium utilizing statistically downscaled climate models (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5) and a “business as usual” greenhouse gas emissions scenario known as Representative Concentration Pathways 8.5 (RCP8.5). The key climate hazards identified in the TransLink include:

  • Temperature
    • Increased annual and seasonal temperature
    • Extreme heat days
    • Frequency and length of heatwaves
  • Precipitation
    • Annual and seasonal rainfall
    • Storms and heavy rainfall
    • Freshet flooding
    • Landslides
    • Bank erosion
  • Sea Level Rise
  • Storms
    • Storm surge events
    • High winds
    • Extreme snow and ice

These climate impacts were used to inform a Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerabilities Committee (PIEVC) risk assessment to identify key asset and operational vulnerabilities across the transit and transportation system. The risk assessment identified ‘High’ and ‘Medium’ risks including damage to key infrastructure such as bus loops and transit centres, SeaBus terminals, SkyTrain stations, bridges, tunnels, radio towers, and more.

For additional climate information, look at the Resources section of this example (below).

Identifying Actions

As part of the development of the CAP, TransLink conducted:

  • A review of climate change adaptation/resilience strategies among peer agencies in North America through the UBC Sustainability Scholar Program
  • A high-level assessment of its assets based on it the PIEVC High Level Screening Guide
  • Climate change adaptation planning workshops with subject-matter experts from TransLink and its Operating Companies.

This work was used to identify and prioritize assets most vulnerable to climate change impacts and provide recommendations to mitigate impacts. These actions were grouped in seven strategies across climate change mitigation and adaptation:

  • Strategy 1: Implement Low Carbon Fleet Strategy
  • Strategy 2: Develop Net-Zero Facilities Strategy
  • Strategy 3: Develop Climate Change Adaptation and Resiliency Roadmap
  • Strategy 4: Support a Climate-Resilient Region and Low-Carbon Economy
  • Strategy 5: Develop and Implement Supporting Climate Policies, Plans, and Processes
  • Strategy 6: Enhance Climate Education and Communication
  • Strategy 7: Secure Funding for Net-Zero and Climate Resilience.

TransLink has an established Low Carbon Fleet Strategy, so the focus of the CAP was on climate adaptation. The Climate Change Adaptation and Resiliency Roadmap sets out a host of actions to increase the resilience of TransLink’s assets and operations, as well as a timeline for the completion of these actions. The roadmap includes actions such as risk and vulnerability assessments for key infrastructure, integration of climate change projections and adaptation in strategic planning, policies, capital projects, maintenance, investigations into cooling technologies for staff, and development of a tree canopy/cooling program.

The CAP also includes actions to support a low-carbon economy. These actions include increased collaboration with Indigenous Peoples to establish collective approaches to climate knowledge co-existence, knowledge generation, and decision-making; integrated approaches to resilience planning for infrastructure; evaluation of net-zero emissions technologies; consideration of equity, diversity and inclusion in climate-related decisions; and integration of climate change adaptation considerations into the planned review of Municipal Funding Programs.


As part of the CAP development, implementation timelines were assigned to all actions identified within the seven strategies. The timeframe begins in 2023, with a major focus on the next three years towards climate adaptation and resilience.

A host of actions identified in the CAP are currently underway or ongoing. Existing adaptation initiatives include retaining wall upgrades, climate integration for bus and SkyTrain services, freshet flood risk monitoring and updating protocols to manage the impact of power outages. Operations measures to increase resiliency currently underway include updated maintenance and operation procedures for snow and ice on trolley overhead lines as well as heat assessment and cooling strategies at worksites. Planning, policies, and communications actions underway relate to the alignment of TransLink’s CAP to regional, provincial, and federal climate change measures.

Outcomes and Monitoring Progress

Thirty of the 48 actions identified in TransLink’s seven strategies are either ongoing, in progress, completed, or scheduled to begin in 2023. The remainder of the actions will be undertaken in 2024, 2025 or later. For a full list of TransLink actions, please see the resources sections of this case study. The CAP will be reviewed and updated in 2025, expanding on climate change impacts on staff and customers. The CAP will also be used to identify funding resources and to remain accountable to local, regional, provincial, and federal policy frameworks and TransLink commitments to resiliency and a carbon-neutral region.

Next Steps

TransLink will begin to implement Year 1 actions in 2023. The key actions for Year 1 are flood risk assessments of key infrastructure and climate change risk assessments of key bridges. These assessments will then be used to develop operational resilience plans as well as capital projects to mitigate the risks.


Link to Full Case Study

Additional Resources:

Additional Climate Information:

Using climate change projections enables better adaptation decisions. To learn how to choose, access, and understand climate data, visit’s Learning Zone.
To further understand how climate information can be applied in transportation-related work, explore Transportation sector content on