This content was originally published on The Resilience Shift website. The Resilience Shift, a 5-year programme supported by Lloyd’s Register Foundation and hosted by Arup, transitioned at the end of 2021 to become Resilience Rising. You can read more about The Resilience Shift’s journey and the transition to Resilience Rising here.

This innovative project promises to make a real difference to resilience – find out more about its work, and join the discussion at its next workshop (27/10/2020) on new adaptation measures.

We are reminded how infrastructure resilience continues to be a hot topic for engineers having witnessed over the last years a number of collapses of critical transport assets whether bridges, tunnels, roads or rail tracks.

Although road and railway infrastructures are the result of precise engineering designs, they still prove to be particularly sensitive in the face of unexpected human hazards (accidents) and to unanticipated natural events (landslides, earthquakes or weather – such as the deadly recent flash floods in France and Italy caused by Storm Alex.

The impact of these sometimes dramatic events and hazards can strongly affect the mobility of people and goods, putting citizen’s safety at risk. They can also contribute to increasing economic losses for industries around the globe.

A shift to a stronger and more resilient multimodal transport system is essential to sustain economic growth and social cohesion, especially after the current economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

To promote this shift and minimise current risks, the European Union is funding the collaborative research project FORESEE that is developing a toolkit to improve infrastructure asset management schemes for transport authorities and infrastructure operators. Using innovative approaches its focus is on cutting-edge technologies that can contribute to long term asset management strategies and are able to reduce harmful impacts. See technical documents produced by the team at this link.

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FORESEE has a number of key partners, but it welcomes scientific and business knowledge from third parties that can positively complement the ongoing research. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 769373.

It regularly organises workshops and webinars through its dedicated Stakeholders Reference Group  With more than 50 organisations involved, this Group adds extraordinary value to the project and it invited interest in its next workshop to be held digitally on 27 October 2020. This will explore adaptation measures such as new materials and systems for resilient transport infrastructures. See below for more details of the workshop and how to get involved.


Who is involved?

25 de Abril bridge, Lisbon, credit: Infraestruturas de Portugal

The overall objective of FORESEE is to provide a cost-effective and reliable tool to improve the resilience of transport infrastructure, and its ability to reduce the magnitude and duration of disruptive events.

Through innovative technologies, methodologies and resilient schemes, FORESEE is addressing the effectiveness of measures able to improve the ability to anticipate, absorb, adapt to, and rapidly recover from, a potentially disruptive event on critical transport assets such as bridges, tunnels, pavements, slopes and terminals.

The technical consortium brings together industrial, research and academic know-how and experience, for the benefit of National Transport Authorities and infrastructure operators, in addition to end-users and freight operators.

FORESEE is working to offer road and railway authorities and managers solutions to help them anticipate, absorb, adapt and rapidly recover from a potentially disruptive hazard during the entire lifecycle of their infrastructures: planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance.

Outputs and results generated, in consultation with leading transport stakeholders, during the lifetime of the project will mainly improve road and rail asset management schemes for authorities and infrastructure operators.

 Clear technical objectives

  • Establish preventative maintenance and upgrading strategies able to improve resilience of transport infrastructures towards human (accidents) and natural hazards (extreme weather events, landslides and earthquakes).
  • Predict and alert to potential risk scenarios at different time scales considering age, conditions and residual life of engineering components.
  • Reduce the social and economic impact on critical transport assets (bridges, tunnels, pavement, slopes, terminals) when those disruptive events happen.
  • Facilitate the deployment of mobility contingency protocols for citizens and freight in such critical situations to ensure safe and efficient evacuation including emergency operations and contingency plans.
  • Demonstrate positive costs and benefits balance associated with resilience investments during the full life cycle of the infrastructure.

In comparison to other research projects, an important difference of FORESEE is the validation of the toolkit on real road scenarios located in Italy, Germany, Spain or Portugal.

Iconic assets such as the “˜25 of April’ Bridge in Lisbon will test different parameters of FORESEE, including psychological human behavior under such challenging events.

The FORESEE toolkit will also support the EU industrial strategy by positioning in the global market an innovative solution made in Europe, and able to tackle critical challenges faced by transport engineering assets.

Join the workshop on adaptation measures

The next workshop of the Stakeholders Reference Group will be held digitally on 27 October 2020 focusing on new materials and systems towards resilient transport infrastructures. The discussion will explore best practice from experts in specific fields related to the project. Join the workshop.

One key objective will be to share views between participants on adaptation measures that, through new materials and systems, are able to mitigate climate change and manmade threats to transport infrastructures (railways and roads) while improving their resilience and safety, and reducing risks and users’ risk perception.

Two-sessions will cover slope stabilisation-protection systems in roads and railways and sustainable drainage systems.

  • Session 1 will offer an overview of flexible stabilisation systems based on anchored membranes while the main characteristics of rockfall barriers (i.e. as a slope protection system) will be presented. FORESEE experts will unveil results of the   development of a new flexible system based on the combination of two membranes, explaining some considerations on surface drainage at slopes and a new computer simulation method applied in flexible system design.
  • Session 2 will focus on a new methodology for improving the estimation of return periods of flooding, displaying an overview of sustainable drainage systems and a set of guidelines and strategies for the application in transport infrastructures. To conclude, some developments in porous asphalt mixtures will be shown.

The final part will include a roundtable to animate further exchanges between infrastructure transport stakeholders from the road and railway sectors.

Should you be interested in joining the discussion, see this link.

This Project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 769373.

With thanks to José Diez, Anna Yankulova and Sheryl Lynch

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