railway line; railway line;

Tomorrow’s Railway and Climate Change Adaptation, UK (national)

Increasing knowledge of the impacts of climate change

Funded by the Technology Strategy Leadership Group and Network Rail as part of the Future Railway programme, this RSSB project will provide knowledge for decision making and will promote step change in methods of working in the rail industry to reduce climate change impacts.

The programme, managed and coordinated by Arup, will address four main questions:

  1. How is the UK climate and weather going to change in the future?

  2. What are the impacts of climate change and extreme weather going to be on the British railway?

  3. What is currently being done or could be done in the future to address the impacts of climate change and extreme weather?

  4. How can we evaluate the cost and benefits of dealing with impacts of climate change and extreme weather?

The project

Starting in January 2013, the first phase of our work involved a comprehensive knowledge review and gap analysis. This comprehensive body of research has been shared with the industry via RSSB’s SPARK platform and recommendations have since been prioritised by key stakeholders within the industry.

The second phase of work has built upon this, helping to deliver a step change in the understanding of climate change, identifying appropriate, cost-effective and timely actions, and developing tools to aid climate change adaptation.

A more resilient railway

The decision making tools and information provided by this project will influence the design and operation of the British railway. These tools include devices for financially evaluating climate adaptation investments, a geographic information system integrating new and existing data, and systems tools to provide insight into the interdependencies and interfaces between railway sub-systems.

Throughout the project a variety of stakeholders are being consulted and outputs are being disseminated within the industry, ensuring that information sharing is maximised.

By identifying actions that the industry can implement we are helping to increase its resilience against extreme weather events.

A multidisciplinary team

Arup is leading a number of tasks during phase two, using a multidisciplinary approach to identify the best solutions. The Arup team is able to provide an in-depth understanding of climate change scenarios and impacts, drawing upon their local knowledge and economic geography, with access to skills from a range of sectors.

Our understanding of the physical implications of climate change, in addition to our knowledge of railway systems and infrastructure, has aided the understanding of weather related risks and relative resilience throughout the programme.

Our Transaction Advice team are leading a review of the economics of climate change adaptation whilst our Operational Performance specialists are leading the change management task with Arup’s GIS experts providing the necessary data.

In addition to managing the project, Arup’s Advanced Technology and Research group are providing climate change and railway systems expertise and are completing an evaluation of findings to include in the final report. The key outcomes of phase one and two will be combined, evaluated and clearly communicated to industry stakeholders.