Resilience of Transport Systems to Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events

Grantham Scholar Qianqian Li’s project aims to assess the resilience of transport systems under the context of changing climate.

Project description

Urban infrastructure systems such as power grids, water distribution systems, transport systems, and ICT ensure that our societies function. As a result, incapacity or destruction of these systems would cause debilitating effects on broader defence and economic security. It is scientifically proven that the functionality and serviceability of critical infrastructure systems can be dramatically affected by climate related hazards. And this is true both for the current climate and for the changing future climate.

While current infrastructure systems are occasionally disrupted by weather related events, they are considered resilient because they are designed, built and operated in compliance with design codes and standards using historical meteorological data. However, in light of climate change there is a concern about whether current systems can withstand the future climate, where the frequency and intensity of weather extremes are likely to surge.

As a result, this project aims to assess the resilience of transport systems under the context of changing climate. Its objective is twofold.

Firstly, to explore how changes in the climate system may be reflected in the transport system. This is given the hypothesis that a degree of change in the climate system does not necessarily result in the same extent of incapacity or malfunction within infrastructure systems.

Secondly, to determine if there is a universal pattern embedded in the network topology of transport systems that can decently predict the system’s resilience to climate induced disruptions.

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Professor Martin Mayfield

Department of Civil and Structural Engineering


Dr Nic Freeman

School of Mathematics and Statistics

Dr Craig Robson

School of Engineering, Newcastle University