Impacts of Climate Change on London?s Transport Systems
Brian Arkell, Geoff Darch, Atkins, UK
London will experience hotter summers, wetter winters, more intense rainfall and a rise in sea level over the coming century. This paper show that with forward planning, successful and cost-effective adaptation can be achieved.
There is much discussion about the contribution of transport to global warming, but what about the impact of our changing climate on transport mode and infrastructure and passengers? This paper will examine the potential impacts of climate change on London?s transport systems, based on the findings of a research study undertaken by Atkins Consultants for the London Climate Change Partnership between 2004 and 2005.
The current climate already presents problems. Recent extreme weather events have had significant impacts on London?s transport systems; for example, the effect of high temperatures on the Underground and major flooding of roads and railway stations.
Scenarios of climate change show that London will experience hotter summers, wetter winters, more intense rainfall and a rise in sea level over the coming century. This poses a number of risks to the operation and use of transport systems in a city where 26 million trips are made everyday.
The study focuses on four case studies
1. Flooding affecting new infrastructure in the Thames Gateway;
2. Flooding of existing road and rail infrastructure;
3. Hot weather damage to road and railway infrastructure; and
4. Passenger comfort on the Underground in a warmer climate.
In addition, the possibility of mode transfer is examined.
Each case study assesses:
? The issue now, drawing on current weather-related effects.
? How climate change will affect the future, including the changing likelihood of extreme events and the implications for management;
? The action already underway in London to address climate impacts; and
? Options and timescales for adaptation, including research, monitoring and changes in design.
It is apparent that most risks already exist ? climate change will simply make them worse. However, with forward planning, successful and cost-effective adaptation can be achieved.
Association for European Transport