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Climate resilient railway infrastructure: A System Innovation Approach

The project application aims to develop system-level innovation roadmap and plan toward resilience railway infrastructure in continuation of two relevant projects, namely “CliMaint” and “AdaptUrbanRail”.

The objective of the project is to identify and analyze obstacles, shortcomings and suggest appropriate measures to accelerate the implementation, upscaling and dissemination of innovation solutions of these two projects.

Future transport infrastructure is expected to be more interconnected and complex leading to different types of vulnerabilities affected by changes in the climate conditions, for instance extreme temperature, and precipitation. Climate change and its associated impacts will be continued for many decades and even centuries, regardless of the success of global initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions3. Hence there is a need for resilience systems for transport networks dealing with vulnerabilities affected by changes in climate conditions. Considering the shift to resilience means that building and operating resilient should, not only account for the preventing disruptions, but also account for restoration and recovery from disruptions and adaptation to the future events.

One solution is the integration of climate change modelling with current and future design, construction, operation and maintenance of railway infrastructure to achieve robust railway operation. For instance, increased snow volume requires greater maintenance activity/cost and better logistics. In addition, risks for extreme rain means a threat to the stability and integrity of the rail embankment and there is a need to identify the vulnerable area with poor operation and maintenance of drainage system under the railway embankment.

Trafikverket and other stakeholders aim to integrate climate factors and its impacts within the current operation and maintenance plan (strategy, procurement strategy, tools and activities). This ambition entails development of Decision Support System (DSS) to map climate risks and identify the vulnerabilities imposed by climate change on operation and maintenance of railway. This will enable implementation of appropriate climate adaptation measures and actions.

The two above projects complement each other and develop an innovative and collaborative platform and process to reduce the impact of climate change on the railway network.