Managing the Asset Whatever the Weather
Paul Williams, Atkins, Nick Rushall, Atkins
The effects of climate change will have a profound impact on transport assets and critical infrastructure. This paper describes a resilience approach to managing asset performance suggesting a risk-based, impact-informed management approach.
The effects of climate change will have a profound impact on transport assets and critical infrastructure. Changes in the weather will also have a significant impact on the way asset owners manage and operate their assets. A key challenge facing network managers is minimising the impact of the climate change whilst achieving the optimal level of service and maximising the value gained from investment.
This paper describes a resilience approach to managing asset performance. To this end, a number of key steps are proposed as a framework; risk evaluation, policy and strategy, risk-centric management framework and an emergency planning ‘continuum’.
At the outset, it is important to ensure adequate information about the asset exists. This will inform a risk evaluation methodology to assess the climate impact not just on the asset but also transport network operation. This will clearly identify the highest risk assets based on the network impact. This can be compared to the organisation’s risk appetite to help develop a risk management strategy.
Risk management actions may include engineering measures to adapt the infrastructure, however this is just one risk reduction measure. Engineering measures will always leave a residual risk and therefore post-risk preparedness is an important element of the management strategy.
It is proposed that the concept of an emergency planning continuum is developed. This will allow the response to any weather event to transition smoothly from normal conditions to exceptional conditions.
In summary, managing the threat of climate change requires a seamless approach, incorporating expertise in asset management, asset operation, engineering and emergency planning. The risk exists at a scheme and network level and any change to the asset that does not consider climate change will create new risks. It is therefore proposed that all future scheme and network management approaches should formally consider climate change drawing upon skills outside the traditional engineering arena. This approach will minimise the delay and disruption resulting from the unpredictable impact of our future climate and enable transport networks to achieve their required levels of service.
Association for European Transport