The effects of climate change are already omnipresent today. Extreme weather events are occurring more frequently in Germany, sometimes with catastrophic consequences: In the summer of 2021, several federal states experienced extremely heavy rainfall events that led to flooding of towns, roads and railways. Low-pressure systems increasingly cause fallen trees and transport larger objects. In the summers of 2003 and 2013, heat ruptures, so-called blow ups, occurred on several German motorways due to prolonged exposure to heat. Against the background of climate change, a further increase in such events is to be expected.
The transport routes affected by extreme weather events sometimes fail for weeks or months, or their operation has to be restricted or stopped as a preventive measure.
The failure of transport infrastructure, especially federal transport routes, can lead to high economic costs. Therefore, federal transport routes must be designed to be resilient to the consequences of climate change, but also to other disruptive events. Resilience refers to the ability of a system to be prepared for disruptive events, to avoid them, to overcome them and to recover quickly.
PTV, together with partners, developed a management concept in a previous project, which can be used to systematically check the resilience of transport infrastructures and evaluate measures to increase it. The concept provides for the initial identification of relevant hazards such as meteorological hazards and the associated locally occurring phenomena (e.g. storms). In addition, particularly critical network elements are identified via a network-wide screening. For these critical network sections, their current resilience is then assessed. This takes into account the extent to which the network section is specifically exposed to the hazards, how vulnerable it is to these hazards and what effects they have on the network section and the network as a whole. This assessment is again carried out taking into account measures to increase resilience. After a final prioritisation of the measures, their implementation follows.
This resilience management concept is being tested and optimised in the current project using case studies of the road, rail and waterway transport modes, focussing primarily on the practical suitability of the concept and the available data.