Impact of climate change on disruption to Urban transport networks from pluvial flooding

Maria Pregnolato*, Alistair Ford, Vassilis Glenis, Sean Wilkinson, Richard Dawson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

89 Citations (Scopus)
359 Downloads (Pure)


Short-duration, high-intensity rainfall causes significant disruption to transport operations, and climate change is projected to increase the frequency and intensity of these events. Disruption costs of flooding are currently calculated using crude approaches. To support improved business cases for adapting urban infrastructure to climate change, this paper presents an integrated framework that couples simulations of flooding and transport to calculate the impacts of disruption. A function, constructed from a range of observational and experimental data sources, is used to relate flood depth to vehicle speed, which is more realistic than the typical approach of categorizing a road as either blocked or free flowing. The framework is demonstrated on Newcastle upon Tyne in the United Kingdom and shows that by the 2080s disruption across the city from a 1-in-50-year event could increase by 66%. A criticality index is developed and is shown to provide an effective metric to prioritize intervention options in the road network. In this case, just two adaptation interventions can reduce travel delays across the city by 32%.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04017015
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Infrastructure Systems
Issue number4
Early online date11 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


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