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Case Studies and Projects

Futurenet – Future resilient transport networks

Furturenet logoTRL was a partner in the project FUTURENET,  a four year research project jointly funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Research Council (EPSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).  The project involved the development of methodologies and models to assess the climate resilience of transport systems and identify future vulnerabilities. The overall aim of FUTURENET was to answer the questions: what will be the nature of the UK transport system in 2050, both in terms of its physical characteristics and its usage, and what will be the shape of the transport network in 2050 that will be most resilient to climate change?

Development of guidance on adapting road pavements to climate change

Adaptation guidance for road pavementsThe UK Department for Transport commissioned TRL to produce guidance for local road engineers on assessing the risk climate change poses to their network and the actions they can take to mitigate this risk. The document produced, Maintaining Pavements in a Changing Climate, includes information on the potential impacts of climate change on pavements, technical solutions to reduce the impacts and case studies from local authorities illustrating the impacts already being seen. A TRL report providing the technical details behind the guidance was also produced.


Improving the resilience of Nigerian roads to climate change impacts 

TRL carried out a scoping study on the resilience of Nigerian roads as part of the DFID funded NIAF (Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility) programme. The study assessed the likely impacts climate change will have on Nigerian roads and ascertained the current level of awareness of climate change impacts of the key stakeholders. It also identified adaptation measures that could reduce the risk of damage and disruption due to climate change impacts, and recommended actions that could be carried out under NIAF to support these measures.

The cost-effectiveness of adapting rail earthworks to climate change

TRL in conjunction with Network Rail carried out a project to explore the economic costs and benefits of adapting railway earthworks to climate change, focusing on the impacts of desiccation on areas with expansive soil. The project used three case study areas in south east England to carry out analysis and develop cost models. The project compared the cost of carrying out maintenance work to stabilise the earthworks, compared to the costs due to delay and tamping if no action was taken.

Development of a drainage risk model for roads

Flooding, UKTRL carried out self-funding research on pluvial flooding of roads. The project developed a drainage risk model, which is composed of two parts. The first calculates the user delay costs associated with different severities of flooding on different road types and the second identifies the sections of road most vulnerable to pluvial flooding. The project examined past flood events to determine the characteristics which make a section of road more susceptible to pluvial flooding and use these to highlight future vulnerable areas. The project report can be downloaded from the TRL Website.


Road owners getting to grips with climate change

ERA-NET ROADERA-NET ROAD (a consortium of European national road administrations) funded a joint research programme entitled "Road owners getting to grips with climate change". The programme consisted of four projects designed to help road owners deal with climate change impacts on their network, these were:

  • IRWIN: Improved local Winter Index to assess Maintenance Needs and Adaptation Costs in Climate Change Scenarios
  • P2R2C2: Pavement Performance and Remediation Requirements following Climate Change
  • RIMAROCC: Risk Management for Roads in a Changing Climate
  • SWAMP: Storm Water prevention - Methods to Predict Damage from the Water Stream in and near Road Pavements in lowland Areas

The programme was completed in 2010 and the individual project deliverables and the final report are available on the ERA-NET ROAD website.  

Scottish Road Network Landslides Study

Scottish LandslideThe Scottish trunk road network is susceptible to rainfall-induced landslides, in the form of debris flows, causing travel disruption and damage to the road infrastructure. Transport Scotland commissioned a two phase project to gather information on the hazards and increasing risks due to climate change. In phase one background information was gathered, areas with a high risk of landslide are identified and plans made for their assessment. These plans were implemented in phase two, the debris flow hazards were evaluated and ranked across the entire Scottish trunk road network and a methodology was developed to assess and manage the risks.

World Bank Study: Making Transport Climate Resilient

World Bank ProjectThe World Bank funded a project on the impacts of climate change on roads in developing countries, and the planning and policy actions that could be taken to reduce the risk of adverse effects. The project carried out by COWI studied the road network  and climate projections in three countries; Ghana, Ethiopia and Mozambique and produced a number of short and long term recommendations.