Transport networks and nodes like main roads, railways, waterways, terminals, and ports are moves people and goods. Its importance cannot be emphasized enough to society and economic growth of the region or country and any disruptions to it can have a significant impact on society and the economy.
Climate change is one of the major and growing threats to transportation networks. Recognizing the role and the possible impact of climate change to transport infrastructure, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) Group of Experts on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation for Transport Networks and Nodes (the Group of Experts) has come up with a 200-page report to analyse the impacts of climate change to the main transport assets.
The report is divided into two parts
The first part discusses the main ECE transport infrastructure networks and nodes exposed to potential impacts of climate change. This section identifies the main transport networks and nodes in the ECE region; the observed climate changes and projected trends; analysis of future climate impacts; and lessons learned and recommendation by the group of experts in the course of doing this work.
The second part of the report contains a compilation of case studies on approaches, practices, methodologies and tools developed and applied by EU countries for analysing current and future climate change impacts on the transport system and for testing transport adaptation options; and the socio-economic impacts of climate change on transport infrastructure on some EU countries.
Some of the case studies highlighted in the report include: How Germany is adapting its transport system to climate change; Germany review of its railway regulation and policies regarding potential climate change, and Poland’s practice in identifying transport infrastructure hotspots due to climatic factors, and many others.
The case study also includes their country’s policies that provide the framework or basis for climate adaptation.
Among the recommendation that the group of experts have come up from doing this work are the following:
- to create awareness and the need to understand the impacts of climate change on inland transport infrastructure and to identify adaptation measures to implement;
- obtaining consistent climate projection data for the ECE region;
- analysing a broad range of climate indicators to boost current knowledge and disseminate these to all countries;
- undertake projects that seek to understand more the inland transportation system’s vulnerability to climate change and extreme weather conditions, and allow sharing of knowledge, experiences, and best practices.
The report states that the Group of Experts through its work hopes to raise awareness of considering climate change into the planning, construction, maintenance and operation and of building resilience of inland transport assets, networks and nodes, and to stimulate ongoing work to establish the analytical basis for regional and local assessments that would identify and adapt transport assets at risk to climate change.
Climate change is a growing global concern. Its impact is not only felt in underdeveloped and developing countries but also in developed countries.
Transport infrastructure and systems are at the forefront the extreme climatic events – which are projected to increase in frequency and intensity. Ongoing climate adaptation efforts need to be encouraged, and knowledge and learning gained from it can create a solid knowledge base that would be useful for resilience building in the transport sector.
Access the entire report by clicking the link below:
Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation for Transport Networks and Nodes. (2020). United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. United Nations. Geneva. Retrieved from http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/trans/doc/2020/wp5/ECE-TRANS-283e.pdf