Projects funded by the Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative

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The following is a list of projects that received grants and contributions under the most recent funding envelope (2018/19-2020/21) of the Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative (NTAI). The funding supports the research and development of innovative climate change adaptation technologies, tools and best practices to improve the resilience of northern transportation infrastructure.

Recipients Project Description Funding
Government of Yukon The project aimed to test an adaptation technique to manage permafrost thaw at Dry Creek (km 1841) on the Alaska Highway. Devices which transfer air to cool the permafrost, known as thermosyphons, were installed to reduce permafrost thaw and improve highway performance by stabilizing the ground beneath the embankment. Ground temperature cables were also installed to monitor the effectiveness of the thermosyphons and provide future research opportunities.


Government of Yukon The project aimed to better understand the impact of climate change with a focus on sections of the Dempster Highway in the Yukon and Northwest Territories, and the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway. The project assessed how climate change affected the cost of maintaining northern highways, studied how the environmental impacts linked with climate change resulted in hazardous road conditions, and developed training materials for managing northern roads and highways. The project was a collaboration between the Yukon and Northwest Territories governments, the Yukon College Cold Climate Innovation Centre, and Carleton University's Northern Studies graduate program.

$980,850Footnote 1

Northern Climate ExChange at Yukon College The project led by the Northern Climate ExChange at Yukon College aims to design and implement systems to alert about potential permafrost-related hazards, such as landslides and ground subsidence. This project involves sites on the Dempster Highway in Yukon, at the Iqaluit Airport in Nunavut, and in Tasiujaq and Salluit in Nunavik, Quebec.


Government of the Northwest Territories This Government of the Northwest Territories project aimed to develop, manage and share a database of permafrost information for test sites along the territorial highways, and research the impact of climate change on sections of the Dempster Highway in Yukon and the Northwest Territories, as well as sections of the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway.


Government of Nunavut The Government of Nunavut is leading a permafrost study to support increased climate resilience of the transportation system serving communities in Nunavut. The project will develop data to assist in decision-making processes for airports in Pangnirtung and Rankin Inlet, and in the analysis of how long-term changes in the climate may affect transportation underlain by permafrost in these and 14 other territorial communities.


Laval University This project aimed to investigate the interaction of retrogressive thaw slumps (RTS) with roads and highways, as well as considerations and mechanisms affecting RTS self-stabilization.

$124,756Footnote 2

University of Alberta The University of Alberta developed a quantitative decision-support model to investigate how the benefit-cost relationship for the Slave Geological Province Corridor all-weather road changes when uncertain factors, such as climate change and freight transport, demand are considered. The results would support decision makers on infrastructure investment decisions, more specifically whether to replace the winter road with an all-weather road.


Yukon College Yukon College examined an active RTS adjacent to the Alaska Highway to develop an innovative research program to better understand RTS impacts on road corridors in the North. The project aims to inform mitigation strategies, develop and test a monitoring approach for the RTS, and engage with transportation professionals and northern students to help them strengthen their understanding of the threats posed by RTS to transportation systems in the North.


University of Ottawa The University of Ottawa examined ship-ice interactions in the Canadian Arctic focusing on northern Baffin Bay and the Northwest Passage. The project examined where sea ice and iceberg navigability has changed across Arctic Canada in the past years and how it is projected to change under future warming scenarios. It also studied the impacts of changing sea ice and icebergs on the resilience, sustainability and integrity of northern shipping, from an operator’s perspective.


CSA Group The CSA Group developed best practices and guidance material for airport operators to assessing climate change vulnerabilities at Northern airports. The project included a literature review and stakeholder interviews.


Government of the Northwest Territories The Government of the Northwest Territories investigated and characterized the relative resiliency of winter road construction methods and road base material to current climate change impacts. The project aimed to characterize the impact of portage road base and construction methodology on resiliency to short periods of unseasonably warm temperatures. The results would support decision makers in providing a methodology to assess climate change vulnerabilities and baseline information for cost-benefit analysis when considering portage resiliency strategies.


University of Waterloo The University of Waterloo studied the risks posed by climate change on roads built atop permafrost. The project aimed to: compare the magnitude and rate of downward heat transfer of various road surface materials commonly used in the North; determine whether a significant correlation exists between previously collected airport pavement temperature and air temperature; and, establish a set of best practices for material selection for territorial governments, municipalities, contractors, and private builders.