Adaptation to Climate Change in the Transport Sector

M.J. Koetse, P. Rietveld

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In this study, we review the literature on climate change adaptation measures in the transport sector. Many of the measures proposed are rather conceptual and far from concrete, probably due to the fact that climate change effects on transport are either unknown or highly uncertain. Given the limited information on the potential magnitude of climate damages and the various uncertainties involved, postponement of adaptation investments may well be the most sensible strategy at the moment, especially when investments are substantial and irreversible. Furthermore, monitoring of relevant climatic changes and ongoing research into climate change effects are important elements of a pro-active adaptation strategy. Irreversible decisions, such as the ones on spatial organization, likely require a more active strategy, e.g. in the form of making spatial reservations. We further discuss the interdependency between optimal mitigation and adaptation, an issue that is often overlooked in the literature. Finally, most operators and governmental bodies are not used to dealing with risk and uncertainty, and generally base their decisions on single risk values only, likely leading to under- or overinvestment. We discuss several relevant topics in this area and highlight methods that can be used to better deal with these issues. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-286
Number of pages21
JournalTransport Reviews
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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