"Climate Crisis Turns World’s Subways Into Flood Zones"

"Swift, deadly flooding in China this week inundated a network that wasn’t even a decade old, highlighting the risks faced by cities globally."

"Terrified passengers trapped in flooded subway cars in Zhengzhou, China. Water cascading down stairways into the London Underground. A woman wading through murky, waist-deep water to reach a New York City subway platform.

Subway systems around the world are struggling to adapt to an era of extreme weather brought on by climate change. Their designs, many based on the expectations of another era, are being overwhelmed, and investment in upgrades could be squeezed by a drop in ridership brought on by the pandemic.

“It’s scary,” said Sarah Kaufman, associate director of the Rudin Center for Transportation at New York University. “The challenge is, how can we get ready for the next storm, which was supposed to be 100 years away,” she said, “but could happen tomorrow?”

Public transportation plays a critical role in reducing travel by car in big cities, thus reining in the emissions from automobiles that contribute to global warming. If commuters become spooked by images of inundated stations and start shunning subways for private cars, transportation experts say it could have major implications for urban air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions."

Hiroko Tabuchi and John Schwartz report for the New York Times July 22, 2021.

Source: NYTimes, 07/23/2021