EU researchers investigate extreme weather effects on transport
How extreme weather impacts the EU transportation system is a question that weighs heavily on the minds of policymakers and the general public. Enter the EWENT ('Extreme weather impacts on European networks of transport') project which aims to identify and define these extreme weather phenomena and their effects. The project partners received almost EUR 1.5 million in support under the 'Transport' Theme of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
Coordinated by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, EWENT will develop relevant scenarios to estimate the consequences of hazardous extreme weather events. The project will also estimate the cost effects of traffic disruptions on infrastructure, operations and third parties such as supply chain impacts, material damages and human casualties, and will assess measures and alternatives to mitigate, control and monitor negative impacts on both people and goods in the short and long terms.
What catapulted the EWENT researchers into action is the growing concern about how climate change is triggering extreme weather events. The 10-strong consortium is also concentrating on the safety and reliability of air, ground and water transport.
'A lot of information exists about the effects of weather events, but this is the first project which intends to estimate the cost effects methodically,' explained project leader Dr Pekka Leviäkangas, a chief scientist at the VTT.
Ultimately, the researchers seek to support adaptation to climate change. The project results will also support businesses, insurers and project financers. According to the team, their findings could play a pivotal role in identifying improved maintenance capabilities requirements, fuelling cooperation between authorities, improving preparedness for special cases, and creating sizing criteria of infrastructures.
In a statement, the VTT said one of EWENT's fundamental tasks is to pre-engineer national and joint European risk management methods and processes.
Scheduled for completion in 2012, the project brings together research and industry actors from Austria, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Norway and Switzerland, as well as the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization.
The VTT said the consultative board of EWENT comprises representatives from the Ministry of Transport and Communications in Finland, the European Investment Bank, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the German insurer Allianz and the Italian Polytechnic University of Turin.
Data Source Provider: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Document Reference: Based on information from the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.
Subject Index: Business aspects; Climate change & Carbon cycle research; Coordination, Cooperation; Economic Aspects; Evaluation; Information Processing, Information Systems; Meteorology; Safety; Scientific Research; Security; Standards; Transport