The impacts of the 28 June 2012 storms on UK road and rail transport

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Abstract

Extreme weather events can cause severe disruption to transport systems, greatly reducing the ability to maintain important social and economic functions such as the delivery of goods and materials within the supply chain. There is a need for greater qualitative and quantitative understanding of how transport systems respond under adverse conditions, to inform event management and to aid adaptation actions. The present study uses the intense storms of 28 June 2012 as a case study to present a novel exploration of the impacts of an extreme event using high spatial and temporal resolution transport data for the UK road and rail networks, as well as weather data from the UK Meteorological Office's MIDAS surface station network and NIMROD weather radar. This event caused widespread disruption, severing the main rail links between England and Scotland and causing 10 000 delay minutes to train services throughout the country, as well as causing reduced speeds on local roads and motorways. The present study describes the meteorological situation in the build-up to and during the event, and uses Network Rail train delay data to visualize the way in which the failure of several sections of critical transport infrastructure caused disruption that propagated quickly through the rail network of Great Britain. Highway Agency motorway speed data are used to quantify the impact of this event on the M6 motorway in the West Midlands. Ways in which the insights gained from these data can be used to aid the transport sector in the prioritization of adaptation actions are discussed.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-476
JournalMeteorological Applications
Volume22
Issue number3
Early online date3 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2015

Keywords

  • transport, extreme events, delay propagation, climate change adaptation, data visualization, weather