Urban Transportation

The impacts of coastal flooding and sea level rise on urban transportation

The 21st century bring together two major dynamics. On the one side, we have widespread urban development, which is accompanied by the development of major infrastructure systems such as transportation. Such infrastructure systems form the backbone of modern urban life. On the other side, we have climate change, which brings intensifying coastal storms and sea level rise. As rapid urban development meets climatic hazards, even minor hazard events can cause substantial cascading impacts for communities.

Coastal cities face increasing risks of flood-related transportation disruption. The flooding of a single highway can cause congrestion propagation throughout the region, leading to substantial increases in travel times and potential accidents.
We quantify the impacts of coastal flooding on the Singapore transportation system using a transportation simulation framework SUMO (Simulation of Urban Mobility). We integrate datasets of road network, commuter origin-destination trips, and flood maps, to quantify the changes in travel time as a result of flooding. Check out the video on the right for a glimpse into the transportation simulations.

Previous work shows that coastal flooding is not a coastal problem, but a regional one. Our work shows how networked urban systems like transportation can propagate flood-related disruption throughout the region, thus magnifying the impacts of coastal flooding. Our work thus highlights the needs for a regionally coordinated adaptation plan for building resilient transportation systems.