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Research on the effects of extreme weather impacts on European transport systems is under way

It is possible to both predict and mitigate disruptions in the transportation of people and goods

EU has launched a research project which studies the effects of extreme weather events on the safety and reliability of traffic systems. The EWENT project, which is coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, will also estimate the cost effects of weather-related disruptions. The project is motivated by the concern over the increase in extreme weather events caused by climate change.

The EWENT project supports ways of mitigating the effects of extreme weather events on the transport of people and goods. The study will focus on the safety and reliability of air, ground and water transport as well as on the cost effects of traffic disruptions.

The project will identify dangerous extreme weather events and estimate their probability and effects. It will also estimate the cost effects of traffic disruptions, such as costs associated with human casualties, material damages and discontinued supply chains.

“A lot of information exists about the effects of weather events, but this is the first project which intends to estimate their cost effects methodically,” says EWENT Coordinator Pekka Leviäkangas from VTT.

The main purpose of the project is to support adaptation to climate change. In addition to the authorities, the project results may be useful for businesses, project financers and insurers. The results can be leveraged in various ways, such as in creating sizing criteria of infrastructures, pointing out needs for enhanced maintenance capabilities, development of cooperation between authorities and preparedness for exceptional conditions. The pre-engineering of co-European and national risk management methods and processes is one of the project’s key tasks.

The project will be carried out between 2010 and 2012. The total project budget is approximately 2 million euros.

The participants of the EWENT project coordinated by VTT are: German Aerospace Center (Germany), Institute of Transport Economics (Norway), Foreca Consulting Ltd (Finland), Finnish Meteorological Institute (Finland), Meteorological Service in Cyprus (Cyprus), Österreichische Wasserstrassen GmbH (Austria), European Severe Storms Laboratory (Germany) and World Meteorological Organisation (UN).

The Consultative Board of the project consists of representatives from the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications, the European Investment Bank, OECD, insurance company Allianz and the Polytechnic University of Turin.

For more information, please contact:

Chief Research Scientist Pekka Leviäkangas, EWENT Coordinator
Tel. + 358 20 722 2058,
Senior Research Scientist Anu Tuominen
Tel. +358 20 722 4976,
Research Scientist Riitta Molarus
Tel. +358 20 722 3480,
Further information on VTT:
Sakari Sohlberg
Tel. +358 20 722 6744
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is the biggest contract research organization in Northern Europe. VTT provides high-end technology solutions and innovation services. From its wide knowledge base, VTT can combine different technologies, create new innovations and a substantial range of world-class technologies and applied research services, thus improving its clients' competitiveness and competence. Through its international scientific and technology network, VTT can produce information, upgrade technology knowledge and create business intelligence and value added to its stakeholders.

Sakari Sohlberg | VTT info
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