EU Science Hub

Impacts of Climate Change on transport: a focus on road and rail transport infrastructures

This report provides a general EU-wide outlook about the future vulnerability of transport to climate change with a focus on the road and rail transport and their infrastructures. It also analyses some specific adaptations measures, illustrating key issues to be considered for policy making. It represents a first JRC/IPTS scientific contribution to the analysis of future impacts of climate change on the transport system in Europe, and has been conducted in the framework of the JRC PESETAII project. Depending on future global warming and the region in Europe, transport modes and system components could be affected by one or several simultaneous changes in the climate conditions, including hotter summer conditions, extreme precipitation events, increased storminess and sea level rise. If such impacts are not anticipated in future transport infrastructure design and maintenance, those changing weather conditions could, in some regions, accelerate their deterioration, increase severe damages risks, traffic interruption and accidents which could, on their turn, affect economic activities. This research project has drawn some future trends regarding changing exposure of road and rail infrastructures to weather-induced risk under climate change, considering two future time intervals (2040-2070 and 2070-2100), future infrastructure deterioration and damage costs and costs associated with some selected adaptation cases.