ECONET (Effects of climate change on the inland waterway networks) is a activity funded by the EC’s Directorate General for Transport and Energy. The objective of this project is to gather the expertise of partners from different fields related to meteorology, hydrology, infrastructure operation, transportation and economics in order to assess the effect of climate change on the transport network, taking the inland waterway network as a case-study.
During the project, we foresee cooperation and exchange of information with other FP7 projects, namely EWENT and WEATHER. These projects also focus on the effects of extreme weather conditions on transport modes, but do not focus in particular on the Inland Waterway Transport (IWT) mode.
The project works in 2 parallel phases/objectives:
The project initially evaluates recent climate change scenarios, leading to predictions on the weather conditions in the future.
In the next step of the project we calibrate the transport model to the current climate and economic conditions. Then, we evaluate the effect of changes in the economy (increase in demand for transport) and changes in climate conditions on the costs and reliability of inland waterway transport and other transport modes, thereby referring to a time horizon 2050. These calculations form the basis for a reference scenario, where no adaptation strategies related to IWT are assumed. We also investigate possible changes in transport flows and further economic impacts (e.g. in terms of a welfare changes).
In parallel with the construction of the reference scenario, we identify proper adaptation strategies for coping with possible climate change effects on IWT. We assess them with respect to their applicability, implementation and costs.
As a result of the previous steps, we establish policy guidelines and a development plan for IWT. This provides targeted input to the European IWT infrastructure development plan to be elaborated within the FP7 project PLATINA, which is dedicated to the implementation of NAIADES. We disseminate results of the project during workshops organised within each work package and communicated to a larger group of stakeholders.