Resilient Mobility > Taking Action > Climate Resilient Roads

Climate Resilient Roads

Once vulnerabilities have been identified there are a range of possible actions that can be taken to create a more climate resilient road network including:

  • Modifications to infrastructure, e.g. changing road surfacing materials, increasing the capacity of culverts
  • Changes to maintenance procedures, e.g. checking drains in vulnerable areas when heavy rain is forecast, increased monitoring of embankments
  • Network management, e.g. identifying diversionary routes, contingency planning, communication with network users in the event of disruption 
  • Development of an organisational framework, e.g. putting in place adaptation policies and action plans, changing pavement standards, including adaptation in contracts, decision making and investments etc.

Planning adaptation action

The choice and prioritisation of the adaptation action taken depends on the assessment of theRoad construction in the UK level of risk and how this changes over time, the cost-benefit ratio and the social and environmental benefits and impacts of the various options. In some cases doing nothing or simply monitoring an asset may be the most appropriate course of action.

The most cost effective method of making transport infrastructure more climate resilient is to consider climate change impacts at the planning stage. Using climate projections to evaluate future requirements instead of basing design and material decisions on historic climate patterns is significantly more cost effective than retrofitting at a later stage when problems occur. In the same way incorporating adaptation into existing maintenance operations, for example replacing a failed culvert with a culvert of greater capacity rather than like for like, is more cost effective and allows more controlled budgeting than reacting to future damage. 

Adaptation in developing countries

Erosion projection at outfall, ZimbabweThe road networks of developing countries are generally more vulnerable to extreme events due to poor condition, a high proportion of unpaved roads and limited resources and technology to adapt.  Developing countries can strongly benefit from the experience and support (funding, knowledge transfer and capacity building) of the international community to increase the resilience of their networks. International donors, through the inclusion of resilience assessment in project design, play a crucial role in adaptation to climate change in transport development.