Climate change risk assessments and adaptation for roads, the ROADAPT project

Infrastructures are the backbone of our society. Citizens, companies and governments have come to rely on and expect uninterrupted availability of the road network. Extreme weather is an important factor for the reliability of the road network. It is generally understood that the climate is changing and that this will have significant effects on the road infrastructure. Since road infrastructure is vital to society, climate change calls for timely adaptation. Road owners and operators will have to deal with the large uncertainties involved in both the projections of future climate and related socio-economic developments and need to assess their effects on the road infrastructure. How can they integrate adaptation into decision making and development of the road transport system. Deltares’ knowledge about risk and asset management, road design, subsurface and hydrology, flood impacts and methods and tools for climate adaptation are very helpful in this respect.


The ROADAPT project was granted under the CEDR Call 2012 ‘Road owners adapting to climate change’. The  project answers to the call objective of prioritizing adaptation measures in order to maximize availability of the road infrastructure within reasonable costs. It adopts a risk based approach using the RIMAROCC framework (Risk Management for Roads in a Changing Climate) that was developed within ERA NET ROAD in 2011 in which Deltares was involved as well. The approach addresses cause, effect and consequence of weather related events to identify the top risks that require action with mitigating measures.

ROADAPT has further developed the RIMAROCC framework into practical and useful methods for road owners and road operators. Output of the ROADAPT project is one ROADAPT-RIMAROCC integrating guideline containing different parts:

Part A Guideline on the use of climate change projections
provides background information and guidelines for tailored and consistent climate data and information. The guideline will support studies on the impact of the current and future climate for transnational road networks, suitable for National Road Authorities.

Part B Guideline on the application of a QuickScan approach on climate change risks for roads
Provides a QuickScan method that estimates the major risks that can be associated with extreme weather conditions both in the current climate and in the future. The method is based on a team building approach gathering knowledge of experts and practitioners of the analysed road network.

Part C. Guideline on how to perform a detailed vulnerability assessment
Provides efficient tools for assessing vulnerabilities within the road network. A new vulnerability assessment method, ROADAPT VA, has been developed using a GIS environment. The method enables the use of general available open data to be combined with road data.

Part D Guideline on how to perform a socioeconomic impact assessment
Deals with the socio-economic assessment. It describes methodologies that enable to evaluate the risk consequences of events linked to climate change, at different levels: road stretch, network and impacted area. A cost-benefit analysis of the adaptation strategies is presented.

Part E Guideline on how to come to an adaptation strategy
Presents an overview of adaptation measures and helps in selecting an adaptation strategy.
The selection of adaptation strategies follows a 10 steps approach that is applied to ten specific climate change related threats. Deltares was the coordinator of the ROADAPT project and was especially involved in the overall framework, the quickscan method and the adaptation options, The consortium further consisted of SGI (Sweden), KNMI (the Netherlands) and Egis (France).