Resilience of transport networks to flood-induced bridge failures

Road networks are fundamental for keeping the country running safely and efficiently. Bridges are crucial elements of these networks, since they cross over otherwise impassable obstacles.

The challenge

Recent extreme weather events have exposed the vulnerability of roads and bridges to flood damage. This vulnerability could lead to economic impacts, long-term disruption to communities, and cascading disruption to other infrastructure services that rely on the integrity of the transport network. The challenge consists of reducing the impact of flooding to bridges, and increasing the resilience of the transport network that underpins our community.

What we're doing

We are identifying bridges at risk of flooding in the UK, considering both structural characteristics and environmental features. We are also developing a model that relates flood damage to bridges and the road network performance, in order to reduce the functionality loss during adverse events. By working with key regional and national stakeholders, we will co-design a tool for independent decision-making.

How it helps

This research will benefit infrastructure operators; urban planners; industry and business; investors; insurers; and local government. The outputs of this project will enable a proactive approach within current flood risk management, and the proposed methodology of bridge assessment will change existing approaches of urban transport analysis. We are aiming to embed this research into next-generation tools that will support the analysis and adaptation of infrastructure to flooding.

Maria Pregnolato Lead researcher profile

Dr Maria Pregnolato, Lecturer in Engineering


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