A new framework for safe, resilient and reliable railways

How do we future-proof our rail networks?

Heatwaves, fires, droughts, flooding, and landslides are increasing as climate change intensifies, impacting whole transport networks and, by implication, whole communities.

There is growing recognition across the rail industry that extreme weather is impacting our rail systems, but solving this challenge in a systemic, effective and efficient way remains tough. Beyond climate threats, the industry has to prepare for other risks – as a recent pandemic, international conflicts and global inflation have shown. A new Rail Resilience Framework from Arup can help the industry navigate these issues.

Across the world, there are promising individual initiatives underway to protect rail systems – but localised efforts alone cannot ensure the inherently networked, regional and national nature of rail systems. Across the rail sector, leaders recognise that prevention is always better than emergency treatment. Preparing and adapting rail systems to cope with evolving and emerging climate threats will be far more cost-efficient and less disruptive than repeated crisis management and repair.

Did you know?

  • 27% Of rail and road assets threatened by climate change
  • US$15bn Estimated annual cost of direct damage from natural hazards to global transport systems
  • US$2bn Daily loss in US economic output due to a nationwide rail shutdown as estimated by the Association of American Railroads

From priority to action

Achieving resilience remains complex – achieving it requires a multi-vector approach that addresses physical, organisational, cultural and other factors – and of course, it has to be achieved in a cost-effective way. We have drawn on Arup’s long experience in rail and wider cross-disciplinary expertise to develop a ‘whole-system’ approach to rail resilience. Our new framework addresses rail resilience across a range of dimensions, including assets, operations and ecosystems; leadership and strategy development, as well as an exploration of the wider impacts on economy and society.

The Rail Resilience Framework sets out the goals and practical actions that will lead to enduring resilience across rail networks. By adopting a whole-system response we can ensure that solutions and actions withstand a wide range of impacts and lead to safer, more reliable services every day.

Download the Framework now

Download the Rail Resilience Framework and get access to:

  • Goals and actions for each of the dimensions of the framework
  • Understanding of extreme weather disruptions to rail systems around the globe
  • Benefits of a whole-system approach
  • Next steps to start or continue your resilience journey