Southern Nevada RTC heat vulnerability study recognized with national award; heat-related efforts to continue this summer

June 13, 2022
The study finds valley’s urban core and east side communities are the most vulnerable to extreme heat.

The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada’s (RTC) Southern Nevada was recognized by the American Planning Association (APA) recently recognized for its Extreme Heat Vulnerability Analysis study with the Quality of Life Award from APA’s Sustainable Communities Division for Excellence in Sustainability.  

The Quality of Life Award honors a plan, project or initiative that is focused on improving the health and well-being of a community. 

The Southern Nevada Extreme Heat Vulnerability Analysis – completed in late 2021 in conjunction with local public health experts, planners and researchers – highlights heat’s negative effects on the community and identifies areas in the region with populations most vulnerable to extreme heat. Southern Nevada’s urban core and east side are home to populations most vulnerable to extreme heat and these areas include many of the valley’s older neighborhoods. 

“While everyone is affected by the intense desert heat, the study identified which populations are more at risk due to environmental, demographic, socioeconomic and physiological factors,” said MJ Maynard, RTC CEO. “Taking this comprehensive and multidimensional approach helps to ensure that interventions developed as a result of the analysis will target those most at risk while taking equity and environmental justice into account.” 

With the knowledge gained from this study, the RTC and its partners are working now to identify opportunities to beat the heat.  

The RTC will further research extreme heat and its impacts through a survey of transit riders and as part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) annual Urban Heat Island Mapping Campaign, both launching this summer. The RTC also intends to use the study results to work with agency partners to help secure grant funding for future infrastructure improvements, including cool pavement, urban tree canopy expansion and bus shelter design, as well as other initiatives that take the health and safety of transit riders into consideration. 

The complete Southern Nevada Extreme Heat Vulnerability Analysis report and access to the heat vulnerability interactive map can be found on the RTC’s website.