Projected implications of climate change for road safety in Greater Vancouver, Canada
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- Cite this article as:
- Hambly, D., Andrey, J., Mills, B. et al. Climatic Change (2013) 116: 613. doi:10.1007/s10584-012-0499-0
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The elevated risk of collision while driving during precipitation has been well documented by the road safety community, with heavy rainfall events of particular concern. As the climate warms in the coming century, altered precipitation patterns are likely. The current study builds on the extensive literature on weather-related driving risks and draws on the climate change impact literature in order to explore the implications of climate change for road safety. It presents both an approach for conducting such analyses, as well as empirical estimates of the direction and magnitude of change in road safety for the highly urbanized Greater Vancouver metropolitan region on Canada’s west coast. The signal that emerges from the analysis is that projections of greater rainfall frequency are expected to translate into higher collision counts by the mid 2050s. The greatest adverse safety impact is likely to be concentrated on moderate to heavy rainfall days (≥ 10 mm), which are associated with more highly elevated risks today. This suggests that particular attention should be paid to future changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme rainfall events.