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(UK) Track Buckle Risk Management

Impact of climate change on London’s transport network

Project duration: 2008

The aim of the project was to establish the severity and geographical distribution of the impacts of Climate Change on the UK’s rail network by quantifying the potential change in frequency and severity of weather-related damage. Special focus was on rail buckles and other rail-related damage caused by extreme high temperatures.

Based on regional climate modelling, the project has focused on the change in severity of rail buckles and other rail-related delays, caused by the predicted increase in hot days due to climate change for the South East region of the UK. The main tasks consisted in

  • Quantification of the impact of current (baseline (BL)) weather on the rail network, leading to the identification of critical thresholds for buckled rails and rail-related delays
  • Application of these thresholds to the rail network under future regional weather scenarios to establish the future impacts of climate change on the network
  • Quantifcation of costs incurred due to a change in frequency and/or severity of rail-related incidents, caused by temperature in those regions
  • Development of recommendations for future adaptation.


Conclusions and Recommendations

By assessing the number of delay minutes caused on days when the temperature reached the threshold of 25°C or above for baseline temperature data, the impact of future temperature profiles has been determined by extrapolating the known impact of baseline data. This increase was then quantified by assigning a cost per delay minute and applying this to the predicted delays caused in each time slice.

It was shown that increased summer temperatures are predicted to double the cost of heat-induced, rail-related delays and buckles every 30 years from baseline weather to the 2080’s time slice. It is very important to know that the temperature at which buckles can occur is significantly reduced by poor levels of track maintenance.

Based on the results of this research it has been recommended that the UK’s rail industry considers a new maintenance regime in order to alleviate the impacts of high temperatures. Another approach would be to change the stress free temperature (SFT) of continuously welded rail (CWR) in the UK, to either a higher SFT or to have a winter and summer SFT.

(EC) Paramount

PARAmount - imProved Accessibility: Reliability and security of Alpine transport infrastructure related to mountainous hazards in a changing climate

Project duration: 2009 –2013

The goal of PARAmount is to improve risk management strategies for infrastructure protection by the adaptation of existing tools and practices to these special requirements.

The project consortium is of cross-sectoral character: key actors from transport and natural hazards management are integrated as PPs and observers. Long-term practical implementation will be assured by the establishment of regional risk dialogue with all relevant stakeholders. This will improve risk awareness, quality of decisions and positive impacts of PARAmount measures. Furthermore, it helps to overcome the existing lack of specific measures on operator and regional socio-economic levels. And enhance the exchange of experiences and especially good practice in this field.

Specific threats to transport infrastructure due to current climate trends are tackled in a systematic and holistic approach. Based on a state-of-the-art analysis of natural hazards management in the case study regions, SWOT and regional risk analysis are performed. The results will be used to adapt and optimise existing natural hazard management tools the special requirements of transport infrastructure protection and to improve existing Decision Support Systems (DSS).


Concerted Action Project on Forecasting, Prevention and Reduction of Landslide and Avalanche Risks

Project duration: March 1998 - June 2000

The objective of CALAR was to act as a platform for exchange of knowledge between researchers and experts in the landslide and avalanche areas as well as to help dissemination of knowledge to other scientists, to industry and to other end-users.   At the start of the CALAR project different state of practice reports (Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, France, Ireland, UK, GE, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Spain) were summarised into 4 regional reports for the Nordic, Western, Central and Southern region to get an overview about the existing knowledge regarding landslides and avalanches.

Within the framework of the project the state of practise in forecasting, prevention and management of landslide and avalanche risks were reviewed, synergies between the foregoing fields of activity found and research and development needs in these areas identified.

Based on these results conclusions and recommendations were developed for the following fields:

  • Assessment of risk level and risk reduction
  • Inventories and databases
  • Risk mapping and land use planning
  • Modelling and forecasting
  • Warning systems and monitoring systems
  • Hazard and risk assessment for landslides and avalanches
  • Risk communication
  • Harmonisation on a European level

(EC) Monitor

MONITOR - Hazard Monitoring for Risk Assessment and Risk Communication

Project duration: June 2006 - March 2008

The infrastructure in mountainous areas or regions with seismic activity is greatly threatened by hazards such as landslides, avalanches or earthquakes. MONITOR offers a basis for a standardised risk management of land-use activities threatened by natural hazards. The project's target groups and their regions vary in their risk exposure and their hazard potentials. MONITOR takes into account a broad variety of local and regional natural hazards and does not only focus on one hazard category. Early warning and risk evaluation monitoring is indispensable in risk management. Prevention of damage has to be correlated with land-use planning. The project provided the methodological basis of preventive measures by risk analyses: For this MONITOR used an integrative approach by considering the viewpoints of all relevant groups which can be seen as an important baseline for risk communication. The most important stakeholders identified are politicians, administrative bodies, experts, the directly affected population and the media. MONITOR has used synergies of existing knowledge and communication potentials and integrated activities at different organisational levels for interdisciplinary risk management. Thus, it has improved the methodology of risk analysis and the regulations for risk communication and supported the entire process of risk evaluation and especially risk communication through a participatory approach. Consequently this should lead to transnationally-accepted standards of risk assessment and communication.


MONITOR developed an ontology of risk management related terms in order to foster risk communication and tested monitoring methods in eight case studies (“test-beds”).  From the case-studies MONITOR developed a Decision Support System for monitoring method selection.


RIMADIMA - Risk Management, Disaster Management and prevention of natural hazards in mountaineous and/or forested regions

Project duration: 1st June 2006 to 31st July 2008 (26 months)

RIMADIMA is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in its INTERREG III B CADSES Neighbourhood Programme 2000-2006.

The project covers mountainous and forested regions in Italy, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Serbia and Macedonia.

RIMADIMA focuses on the development of preventive measures, emergency plans and plans to combat natural hazards. Thereby it contains environmental protection and risk management activities with regard to different extreme weather events like flooding, rock fall, landslide, avalanches, fires and wind throw.

The spatial focus of RIMADIMA addresses regions that are affected by similar natural hazards.

The main objective of RIMADIMA is the development of a common transnational risk and disaster management system based on a spatial “Decision-Support System” (DSS). This combines risk management and spatial planning. The aim of the DSS as a common concept is the improvement of decision-making processes for Planning Departments and Crisis Management Centres (CMC).

In total RIMADIMA has defined following results:

-          Planning, modernisation and development of CMCs as an integrated part of national, regional and local entities

-          Promotion of co-operation and exchange of experience between CMCs at European level

-          Elaboration and improvement of common spatial development directives, laws and procedures in risk prevention and risk management

-          Development of an open-source DSS demo version as a tool for decision-makers combining risk management and spatial planning factors

-          Preparation of risk prevention concepts based on the experience of project partners.
This integrates a visualisation in GIS web-based hazard maps that are adjusted for the topics: natural disasters, sustainable ecological tourism concepts, preservation of nature in forested and mountainous areas.

Furthermore RIMADIMA aims to adapt the achieved concept structure and the demo version of a DSS to other risk types and other CADSES regions.


Link: www.cadses.net/projects/apprpro.html

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