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ITF Report “Adapting Transport to Climate Change and Extreme Weather"


The report has been produced by a working group set up by the International Transport Forum. It provides an overview of future climate projections and uncertainties on the future evolution of climate-related variables with an influence on transport infrastructure. It provides some cost estimates of the impact of climate and extreme weather on transport infrastructures, stressing the high uncertainty linked to the figures provided.

The uncertainty about the evolution of key meteorological and climate parameters entails the risk of either over-specification of infrastructure design standards (leading to unproductive investments) or under-specification (leading to asset failure or service degradation). Both represent considerable risks for public authorities, and the report provides some policy insights to navigate among these risks:

  • Act now to preserve the value of transport infrastructure and maintain network performance.
  • Protect transport infrastructure against climate impacts through good maintenance.
  • Prepare for more frequent and unexpected failure of transport infrastructure.
  • Account for temporary unavailability of transport assets in in-service continuity plans.
  • Assess vulnerability of transport assets and networks from climate change and extreme weather.
  • Focus on transport system resilience, not just on designing robust infrastructure.
  • Re-evaluate thinking on redundant transport infrastructure.
  • Do not rely solely on cost-benefit analysis for appraising the value of transport infrastructure.
  • Develop new decision-support tools that incorporate deep uncertainty into asset appraisal.


Reference information

International Transport Forum (ITF). Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

Published in Climate-ADAPT Apr 06 2017   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Sep 10 2022

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