Transportation in Times of Extreme Weather Events: KLU Plays on Global Stages

KLU professor Alan McKinnon gave a presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) in Washington, DC about transportation and climate change and talked to the Executive Committee of the TRB about the same topic in January, 2017. With around 14,000 delegates, the TRB meeting is the world’s largest gathering of transport specialists. McKinnon’s presentations summarized the output of a joint EU-US symposium on Transportation Resilience: Adaptation to Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events which took place in Brussels in June, 2016.

T-shirt weather on Christmas, snow storms in May: Climate change is affecting our private life. It does, however, also have an impact on the economy. Transportation and shipping have to adapt to sudden weather changes and extreme climate conditions – globally. In order to review research on this subject and to identify key areas for future research, 45 specialists from the U.S. and Europe joined forces. They met at a transatlantic symposium held by the European Commission and the U.S. Department of Transportation and chaired by McKinnon in Brussels in June, 2016. Among the participants was KLU professor Michele Acciaro who contributed his expertise on the adaptation of maritime transport to climate change.

Topics of the Brussels symposium that were presented by McKinnon to the TRB included possible ways to manage transportation disruptions during periods of excessive rainfall, to improve the resilience of transportation systems during periods of extreme heat, and to prepare transportation infrastructure for rising sea levels and storm surges. During the symposium, high-level experts from various fields discussed the technical, financial, and policy challenges and assessed the need to design, build, operate, and maintain transportation systems that are better adapted to the challenges caused by climate change.

The final report of the symposium, released in January, 2017, proposes a portfolio of potential research topics for the EU and the US.

Read the full report.