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Infrastructure Resilience Conference 2018

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Understanding Resilience of Transport Infrastructure to the Impacts of Pluvial Flooding

Critical infrastructure networks are crucial to the social and economic function of urban areas but are at increasing risk from natural hazards. Minimizing disruption to these networks should form part of a strategy to increase urban resilience. In particular, adverse weather events can cause significant disruption to the efficiency and safety of the transportation sector (Hooper and Chapman, 2012). Multiple studies have demonstrated a relationship between the hazard magnitude and the performance of the transport system, recognising the need of a deeper understanding of the transport vulnerability to extreme events (Jaroszweski et al., 2014). Therefore assessing the impact hazards, such as pluvial flood risk at a city scale requires a modelling approach applicable to dynamic simulations and to a range of climatic events. However, existing research is limited to silo-based approaches of weather and traffic analysis.

In order to fill such significant gaps, this paper illustrates an original integrated framework to couple simulations of flooding and transport, and calculate the impacts of disruptions. A function, constructed from a range of observational and experimental data sources, is used to relate flood depth to vehicle speed, which is more realistic than the typical approach of categorising a road as either ‘blocked’ or ‘free flowing’ (Penning-Rowsell et al., 2013). A criticality index, based on the hazard and the network, is developed as an effective metric to prioritise intervention options on the road network, and as a comparator to network metrics such as betweenness centrality (Dueñas-Osorio and Vemuru, 2009).

The framework allows for an assessment of benefits and costs of adaptation options to manage flood risk, improving the existing crude approaches of calculations. A case study in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the UK shows how relevant is to identify and prioritize the most critical locations, considering a system-wide analysis for the road network. The interventions of drainage improvement in the two top-ranked vulnerable locations resulted in a saving of more than £6m, for a timeframe of 50 years.

This framework provides a means of prioritizing limited financial resources to improve resilience. This is particularly important as flood management investments must typically exceed a far higher benefit–cost threshold than transport infrastructure investments. By capturing the value to the transport network from flood management interventions, it is possible to create new business models that provide benefits to, and enhance the resilience of, both transport and flood risk management infrastructures. Further work will develop the framework to consider other hazards and infrastructure networks.

--------------------------------------------------------- Dueñas-Osorio, L.A. and Vemuru, S.M. (2009) 'Cascading failures in complex infrastructure systems', Structural Safety, 31, pp. 157–167. Hooper, E. and Chapman, L. (2012) 'The impacts of climate change on national road and rail networks', Transport and Sustainability, 2, pp. 105-136. Jaroszweski, D., Hooper, E., Baker, C.J., Chapman, L. and Quinn, A.D. (2014) 'The impacts of the 28th June 2012 storms on UK transport', Meteorological Applications, 22, pp. 470-476. Penning-Rowsell, E., Priest, S., Parker, D., Morris, J., Tunstall, S., Viavattene, C., Chatterton, J. and Owen, D. (2013) Flood and coastal erosion risk management: A Manual for Economic Appraisal Middlesex (UK): Routledge.

Maria Pregnolato
Newcastle University
United Kingdom

Craig Robson
Newcastle University
United Kingdom

Alistair Ford
Newcastle University
United Kingdom

Richard Dawson
Newcastle University
United Kingdom

Richard Dawson
Newcastle University
United Kingdom

 

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