Future resilient transport networks: current and future impacts of precipitation on a UK motorway corridor

Hooper, Elizabeth Joanne (2013). Future resilient transport networks: current and future impacts of precipitation on a UK motorway corridor. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis investigates the impact of precipitation on the UK motorway network, with the aim of determining how speed, flow and accidents are affected. Climate change impact assessments require detailed information regarding the impact of weather in the current (baseline) climate and so this thesis seeks to address gaps in knowledge of current precipitation impacts to better inform future climate impact assessments. This thesis demonstrates that whilst precipitation does impact on traffic speeds, there is no universal significant single factor relationship. Indeed, a key threshold is identified at 0 mm hr-1 – the fastest speeds occur when there is no precipitation and speeds immediately decrease at the onset of precipitation. More detailed findings indicate the impact can be detected in both speed and maximum flow across much of the network as well as a downward reduction in the overall speed – flow relationship. In addition to speed flow, the impact of precipitation on road traffic accidents was also investigated. Fifteen percent of accidents in the UK occur in wet weather. Precipitation related accidents are shown to have a prolonged impact on the road network and can continue to cause a decrease in traffic speed and flow for up to three hours afterwards. With increased instances of heavy precipitation predicted as a result of climate change, these findings highlight the subsequent impact on journey speeds, travel times, traffic flows and the associated economic costs.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
T Technology > TE Highway engineering. Roads and pavements
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/4715


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