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Nat Commun. 2019 Jun 25;10(1):2677. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-10442-3.

A global multi-hazard risk analysis of road and railway infrastructure assets.

Author information

Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX1 3QY, UK.
Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, 1081 HV, The Netherlands.
World Bank, Washington, DC, 20433, USA.
Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX1 3QY, UK.
European Commission, Joint European Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, I-21027, Italy.
Department of Marine Sciences, University of the Aegean, Mitilene, 41100, Greece.


Transport infrastructure is exposed to natural hazards all around the world. Here we present the first global estimates of multi-hazard exposure and risk to road and rail infrastructure. Results reveal that ~27% of all global road and railway assets are exposed to at least one hazard and ~7.5% of all assets are exposed to a 1/100 year flood event. Global Expected Annual Damages (EAD) due to direct damage to road and railway assets range from 3.1 to 22 billion US dollars, of which ~73% is caused by surface and river flooding. Global EAD are small relative to global GDP (~0.02%). However, in some countries EAD reach 0.5 to 1% of GDP annually, which is the same order of magnitude as national transport infrastructure budgets. A cost-benefit analysis suggests that increasing flood protection would have positive returns on ~60% of roads exposed to a 1/100 year flood event.

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