Economics of Climate Resilience: Transport

Submitted by Michael Rastall | published 27th Mar 2013 | last updated 15th May 2013

Executive summary

The UK’s transport network is already experiencing various impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events. Relevant climate change risks include flooding, heat effects on the rail network (e.g. rail buckling), bridge scour and landslides. Although subject to uncertainty (see Annex 3), these risks are projected to increase.

In response to these climate change risks, government policy officials identified a need for additional evidence in relation to adaptation on strategic road and rail. In particular, they set the following question to be addressed in this report: 

“Given projected climate change, what is the case for further intervention in relation to adaptation on strategic road and rail in the UK?”

Particular focus was requested on:

• Road and rail delays caused by flooding and heat;
• Impacts of flooding and heat on strategic road and rail infrastructure; and,
• The potential impacts of landslides in Scotland and Wales.

The analysis draws on an extensive published evidence-base, expert guidance and stakeholder consultation. Around 20 semi-structured interviews were conducted with transport authorities and agencies, policy officials, academics, researchers and transport sector experts. In addition, two focus groups were held to test emerging findings.