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Vulnerability and Adaptation of Transportation Infrastructure to Climate Change


It is clear that climate change represents a significant risk to the performance of engineered systems and to public safety in Canada. As such, engineers, asset managers and decision-makers must address climate change adaptation as part of their primary mandate – the protection of the public interest, which includes life, health, property, economic interests and the environment.
Vulnerability and risk assessment form the bridge to ensure climate change is considered in engineering design, operations and maintenance of civil infrastructure. Identifying the components of the infrastructure that are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts allows cost-effective engineering, operations and policy solutions to be developed. This paper puts future climate risks in the context of the current condition of Canada’s infrastructure and the impacts of climate change. It presents a high level overview of some of the tools available to decision-makers and infrastructure practitioners to consider climate change impacts, from planning to operations and maintenance.
The article focuses on processes and methodologies that have been used by public agencies and municipalities in Canada to identify and quantify risks, as well as develop climate change adaptation solutions. Engineers Canada’s PIEVC Protocol, a methodology used in more than 40 projects across Canada to evaluate the vulnerability of infrastructure is described in more detail. The Protocol has been applied to a wide spectrum of infrastructure: roads, highways, bridges and associated structures; potable water, wastewater and storm water systems; electrical transmission infrastructure and dams; buildings; airports; and coastal infrastructure. The applications cover all regions of Canada. An example of the risk assessment for a section of highway in British Columbia is presented to illustrate the application of the Protocol to a highway transportation system.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Risk Assessment and Vulnerability of Mobility
Felio, G.
Climate change