PIARC Publishes “International Climate Change Adaptation Framework for Road Infrastructure” Report

A framework providing an iterative approach to climate change adaptation.

The World Road Assocation (PIARC) has developed a report with a framework to guide road authorities through developing relevant assets and climatic variables for assessment, identifying and prioritizing risks, developing a robust adaptation response and integrating assessment findings into decision-making processes.

Actions undertaken to mitigate the negative effects of climate change on road networks have varied from one country to another. They include legal, regulatory and institutional measures, promoting other transport modes, introducing new, green technologies, undertaking permanent supervision of embankments and slopes to reduce risks of collapse, accidents and interruptions of service, as well as developing new methodologies and analytical tools to identify, assess and mitigate risks and thus reduce the vulnerability of the road infrastructure.

Despite all these efforts, dealing with the effects of climate change is still a new topic and there are no easily accessible references to help transport and road decision-makers to cope with the problem and manage it systematically and efficiently. While some countries have made progress on this subject, others are yet to start their own efforts. In recognizing this situation, the World Road Association has completed this “International Climate Change Adaptation Framework for Road Infrastructure” to help member countries adopt a consistent approach to analyze the effects of climate change on their road networks and thus help them identify, propose and prioritize the most appropriate measures to mitigate risks associated with extreme weather events.

The framework sets a four-stage approach to guide road authorities through the process of increasing the resilience of their road networks and assets:

  • Stage 1 of the framework guides road authorities through a series of steps to allow for the identification of assessment scope and activities and to define which assets, locations, risks and climate change projections / scenarios to include in an assessment.
  • Stage 2 of the framework takes findings from Stage 1 and provides guidance on assessing the probability and severity of climate change risks on road infrastructure and enables road authorities to understand and quantify the risks posed to their network and assets in an effective, accessible, iterative and yet robust and holistic way.
  • Stage 3 of the framework outlines the process for the identification, assessment, selection and prioritization of adaptation responses to the climate risks and opportunities identified within Stages 1 and 2 of the assessment process.
  • Stage 4 of the framework provides guidance on effectively incorporating findings from an assessment into road infrastructure programs, processes, investments, strategies and systems such as Transport Asset Management (TAM). This is essential in ensuring road infrastructure is resilient to future climate change and extreme weather events.

Further, PIARC has created a workbook to be used by road authorities when undertaking an assessment of climate change risks to their networks, assets and operations. The workbook can be used when working through each of the four stages of an assessment and to record findings and progress.

The full report, and access to the workbook, can be found here.


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