Transport infrastructure is vulnerable to climate change and other natural or human caused disruptions. Maintaining an elevated infrastructure reliability and performance is crucial for increasing the resilience of the transport system. For example, low or excessive precipitations and extreme temperatures put a strain on transport infrastructure, lowering its performance and capacity, exacerbating its vulnerabilities and raising safety concerns. At the same time when focusing at a resilient and performing transport infrastructure its environmental footprint, resource and material consumption and habitat fragmentation and biodiversity degradation should be reduced to a minimum. The goal is smart, green, sustainable, climate-resilient and biodiversity friendly infrastructure.
Research is needed in order to limit transport infrastructure vulnerability to climate change and other natural or human caused disruptions. Making infrastructures more resilient to climate change should focus on improving the ability of the transport infrastructure network to withstand disruption, adapt to changing conditions under extreme circumstances while maintaining its performance. The goal is to strengthen infrastructure reliability, improve its performance and increase the resilience of the whole transport system, creating a climate resilient infrastructure system. The proposals will develop and validate new solutions to increase efficiency, inter-modality, resilience, safety and security of the transport system, for passengers and freight. Proposals should address all of the following aspects with particular attention to inland waterways:
- Solutions for ensuring the performance of inland waterways during periods of low or high water levels (as they are primary reasons blocking smooth functioning of this type of transport infrastructures).
- Solutions for ensuring the performance and safety of land transport infrastructure and ports during extreme weather and man-made events. Development of strategies for increasing the capacity of resilient infrastructures during disruptive events. Interconnection of infrastructure health monitoring, traffic management and emergency management systems to support informed decision making during and after these events, also supporting possible redistribution of passenger and freight flows to complementary infrastructures.
- Building on state-of-the-art solutions for surveillance and prediction of climate change effects, and identification of infrastructure points vulnerable to climate change, proposals should develop cross-modal strategies to upgrade (including physical upgrade) existing infrastructures and reduce their vulnerability, while using sustainable materials and construction techniques.
- Design of standard, modular infrastructure elements for rapid deployment after disruptive events in order to increase the capacity of the transport network or create new provisional links as a temporary measure until the transport network recovers its normal capacity. Both mode-specific and multi-modal solutions can be considered.
- Development of new governance models that enable cooperation across institutional, modal and national boundaries. Together with stakeholders and end users at various levels, develop and demonstrate innovative concepts and solutions to make operations for passenger mobility, freight transport and logistics supply chains more resilient to large-scale shocks and disruptions by enhanced planning, management and flow redistribution (considering also shifting to less carbon-intensive transport modes). Development of standard models and procedures to foster the implementation of resilient methodologies from design and construction and throughout the life-cycle of the infrastructure.
Innovative infrastructure solutions should contribute to lowering the environmental footprint, resources and material consumption. Exploring Nature-based solutions (NBS) is an opportunity for creating sustainable, climate-resilient EU transport infrastructure in a cost-effective manner, while producing substantial social, economic, and environmental co-benefits. The goal is smart, green, sustainable and climate-resilient infrastructure, planned in a way that maximises positive impact on economic growth and minimises the negative impact on the environment and, significant and lasting degradation of ecosystems and fragmentation of habitats, promoting environmentally friendly modes of transport and leading to the reduction of transport emissions.
Proposals need to include at least two pilot demonstrations in operational environment (minimum at TRL7) in CEF corridors, one specific for inland waterways and a second one for integrated with waterways hinterland infrastructure. Proposals should also consider results from previous calls on infrastructure resilience168 and sustainable construction and should uptake relevant EU guidance on development and management of EU transport infrastructures and be compatible with EU environmental legislation.