Fraunhofer Institute for
Systems and Innovation Research ISI
The Transport Sector and Climate Change - Two New Studies
Press Release 13.07.2010
The hot summer with temperatures around 38 degrees Centigrade and sometimes violent thunder storms also affects transport-users. For instance, public transport had to be stopped because air conditioners broke down or technical problems occurred. A project entitled "WEATHER" managed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI deals with these extreme weather conditions caused by climate change, and its effects on transport. The project examines the transport-related and economic impacts of natural catastrophes, which have greatly increased in frequency and severity in recent years. Another project coordinated by Fraunhofer ISI "Reducing greenhouse gas emissions of transport beyond 2020“, in brief GHG-TransPoRD, develops a sectoral GHG reduction target for transport and suggests measures as well as a research strategy to achieve the sectoral target.
Natural disasters and extreme weather conditions like heat waves, storms or floods markedly increased in frequency and violence in the northern hemisphere during the second half of the past century. Climate change is mainly caused by high emissions of greenhouse gases, in particular CO₂. Fraunhofer ISI's research project WEATHER examines extreme weather events and their economic effects on transport systems and users. How expensive are the damages incurred and what is the cost-benefit ratio of adaptation measures such as extended protective walls or clearings alongside roads or rail routes? The project investigates for example the use of new materials in road building, the expansion of drainage networks or whether re-locating routes away from rivers and coastlines make sense. "Till now studies only made vague and very few quantitative statements about the effects of weather events on the economy of transport. With the WEATHER project, Fraunhofer ISI is going a step further. In various workshops with infrastructure operators, transport companies, the insurance industry and policy-makers it sheds light on the costs of floods or heat waves on transport”, says Dr. Claus Doll from Fraunhofer ISI. The first workshop addressing the topic "Vulnerability of Transport Systems” is scheduled for 14 September 2010 in Brussels.
In addition, the question is posed where roads or rail routes should be built in future and what adaptations should be considered in building and equipping means of transport, railway stations or airports. In response, Fraunhofer ISI develops, together with eight European partners, economic methods and dynamic models which depict the interrelationships between the severity and frequency of natural events and their impacts on transport modes, downstream economic sectors, as well as on the European economy until the year 2050.
The WEATHER project thus presents the possibilities and potentials of climate adaptation measures in the transport sector and in preparation for emergency operations in the case of disasters at the European level. In this way, innovative mechanisms as well as efficient adaptation strategies to mitigate the impacts of extreme weather events on transport, and to enable rapid response in emergencies, can be identified. What role the government, enterprises and industry will play therein must also be clarified. "With our results we point to ways in which sustainability goals can be brought together and where innovation potentials lie“, says Dr. Claus Doll.
The project "GHG-TransPoRD" addresses possibilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector. It is therefore necessary to define specific reduction targets for transport in the medium-term (until 2020) and the long-term (until 2050), and develop a comprehensive European strategy in R&D for the transport sector, as well as policy measures. With Fraunhofer ISI in charge, technical-economic analyses are carried out and scenarios developed which take into account the innovation system of the transport sector to stimulate technological developments and develop transport policy decisions of the coming years, together with four European partners.
The resulting policy options aim to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions in the EU by 2020 by 20 to 30 per cent and until 2050 by 60 to 80 per cent. In four workshops and a conference, measures will be discussed not only for car and train transport, shipping and aviation, but also developments in alternative fuels. "We will then incorporate these concrete scenarios as a proposal in the EU research and policy strategy. Through the active exchanges with stakeholders about the savings potentials in greenhouse gases, we want to create a platform for a common understanding of greenhouse gas reduction targets for transport as a sector“, Dr. Wolfgang Schade, Project Manager at Fraunhofer ISI, describes the project goal.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI analyzes the framework conditions of innovations. We research the short- and long-term developments of innovation processes and the impacts of emerging technologies and services on society. Based on this, we are able to provide our clients from industry, politics and science with recommendations for action and perspectives for important decisions. Our expertise lies in our broad scientific competence as well as our interdisciplinary and systems research approach.