Local authorities urged to prepare for extreme weather in future
Local authorities need to take a closer look at how they plan their maintenance programmes to efficiently overcome the challenges winter produces.
So says TRL, the global centre for innovation in transport and mobility, as it warns that the impact of climate change on the modern world will likely have profound effects on infrastructure requirements and how authorities maintain their road networks
Future weather fronts will see the UK experience much wetter and warmer winters than ever before and a potential increase in unpredictable extreme weather events such as 2017’s ‘The Beast from the East’.
In response, TRL’s winter maintenance expert, Matthew Evans, has undertaken an extensive amount of research around preparation and planning for winter events, and says innovative new technologies coming on to the market could provide the UK’s road networks with a variety of ways to combat the winter period. This includes gaining a firm understanding of their own networks and make use of effective strategies to monitor conditions.
“Technology is improving all the time and making use of route-based forecasting, dynamic route optimisation and the latest sensors to monitor conditions could potentially provide significant savings in winter maintenance budgets for the typical winter in the UK,” explained Evans.
Experts from the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) are also working closely with the National Winter Service Research Group (NWSRG) to develop a new framework of research to provide road authorities with the means to better plan and prepare winter maintenance programmes. This includes through the ‘Well-managed highway infrastructure’ Code of Practice, which provides information to assist authorities in reviewing their current policy and plans as well as how to implement new technologies and methods of working.