Journal article Open Access

Flood risk assessment of the European road network

van Ginkel, Kees; Dottori, Francesco; Alfieri, Lorenzo; Feyen, Luc; Koks, Elco

River floods pose a significant threat to road transport infrastructure in Europe. This study presents a high-resolution object-based continental-scale assessment of direct flood risk of the European road network for the present climate, using high-resolution exposure data from OpenStreetMap. A new set of road-specific damage functions is developed. The expected annual direct damage from large river floods to road infrastructure in Europe is EUR 230 million per year. Compared to grid-based approaches, the object-based approach is more precise and provides more action perspective for road owners because it calculates damage directly for individual road segments while accounting for segment-specific attributes. This enables the identification of European hotspots, such as roads in the Alps and along the Sava River. A first comparison to a reference case shows that the new object-based method computes realistic damage estimates, paving the way for targeted risk reduction strategies.

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