TRL kicks off European transport project on climate change 26 October 2016

TRL is now leading a consortium of six partners in a €450,000 research project aimed at helping European freight operators better address the impacts of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The two-year DeTECToR (decision-support tools for embedding climate change thinking on roads) project is funded by Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Austria.

Dr Sarah Reeves, who is the project co-ordinator for TRL, says DeTECToR’ output will comprise practical tools and guidance documents, enabling road operators to better integrate climate change considerations into their vehicle and maintenance procurement decision making.

Tools promised include cost-benefit software that uses climate projections and asset information to help with the assessment of alternative transport approaches, as well as a self-assessment tool designed to embed climate change mitigation into procurement.

Reeves explains, for example, that with most operators contracting out maintenance, integrating carbon reduction and climate change considerations into the procurement process is becoming a critical part of addressing climate change.

“DeTECToR represents a major step-change in embedding climate change adaptation in the decision making of road operators,” comments Reeves.

“It will provide the road industry with advanced tools and guidance based on the very latest research to help them improve the resilience of their networks.”

TRL, she says, will draw on its national climate change adaptation work in the transport sector, including the NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) project assessing the coastal risks to Scottish roads.

According to a recent report from the European Commission on the impact of climate change on transport, weather stresses currently represent 30-50% of road maintenance costs in Europe – between €8 and €13 billion every year.

Without action, more frequent extreme weather due to climate change could result in even greater costs for road transport infrastructures, says the EC.

Brian Tinham

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