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EU launches EWENT project to study the effects of extreme weather on traffic systems

The EU has launched a research project that will study the effects of extreme weather events on the safety and reliability of traffic systems. The EWENT project will also estimate the cost effects of weather-related disruptions. The project is motivated by the concern over the increase in extreme weather events caused by climate change. The project supports ways of mitigating the effects of extreme weather events on the transport of people and goods. The study will focus on the safety and reliability of air, ground and water transport, as well as on the cost effects of traffic disruptions. The project will be carried out between 2010 and 2012 and will have a budget of approximately US$2.8 million (Euro 2 million).

The main purpose of the project is to support adaptation to climate change. In addition to the authorities, the project results may be useful for businesses, project financers and insurers. The results can be used in various ways, such as in creating sizing criteria of infrastructures, pointing out needs for enhanced maintenance capabilities, development of cooperation between authorities and preparedness for exceptional conditions. The pre-engineering of co-European and national risk management methods and processes is one of the project’s key tasks.

The project, which will be coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, will identify dangerous extreme weather events and estimate their probability and effects. It will also estimate the cost effects of traffic disruptions, such as costs associated with human casualties, material damages and discontinued supply chains. EWENT coordinator, Pekka Leviäkangas, from VTT says, “A lot of information exists about the effects of weather events, but this is the first project which intends to estimate their cost effects methodically.”

The participants of the EWENT project are: German Aerospace Center; Institute of Transport Economics (Norway), Foreca Consulting Ltd (Finland), Finnish Meteorological Institute (Finland), Meteorological Service in Cyprus (Cyprus), Österreichische Wasserstrassen GmbH (Austria), European Severe Storms Laboratory (Germany) and World Meteorological Organisation (UN). The Consultative Board of the project consists of representatives from the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications, the European Investment Bank, OECD, insurance company Allianz and the Polytechnic University of Turin.

 

January 19, 2010

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