The Cities & Infrastructure Programme funds interdisciplinary research projects that address the challenge of creating and maintaining sustainable and resilient cities, with the aim of informing relevant policies and interventions in developing countries.
Optimal Investment Strategies to Minimise Flood Impact on Road Infrastructure in Vietnam
This project seeks to introduce scientific methods of operational research to demonstrate the comparative impacts of flooding of urban transport systems, on different levels of a city’s economy and society, under different investment scenarios.
Vietnam is ranked globally as the country with the fourth highest exposure to flooding. Monsoon rains regularly begin in the north of the country in April to May, and typhoons impact the long coastline, especially the central and southern provinces, from October to January. Climate change is exacerbating the intensity of these extreme weather events, and rapid urbanisation is increasing the severity of the impacts. Impacts of urban flooding are felt on Vietnam’s economy at all levels. Central and city government budgets are impacted by sudden clean-up and infrastructural maintenance costs. Businesses are impacted by damage to their capital, disruptions to their operations, and shocks to their profits. Street traders and vendors, whose livelihoods are precarious and who have no financial safety nets, are financially and personally vulnerable. And households bear the greatest financial losses, from damage to their homes and assets, increasing costs of food in local markets, inability to travel to work, and difficulties in accessing services such children’s schools and health services.
Investment strategies for urban road infrastructure are guided mainly by development and economic growth targets, as part of national development plans, by the influences of international finance institutions, and by sometimes competing sectoral priorities of government planning, construction and transportation departments. These influences lead to investments which are strategic, but not economically optimal in the context of rapid urbanisation and climate change. This project seeks to redress that balance, by introducing scientific methods of operational research to demonstrate, based on existing data, the comparative impacts of flooding of urban transport systems on different levels of a city’s economy and society, under different investment scenarios.
Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, has been selected as the project’s target city. The project will:
- Identify gaps and inefficiencies in current infrastructure investment and maintenance programmes, especially in relation to climate change and flooding issues that affect transport.
- Build a set of future flood scenarios affecting Hanoi, with their associated probability of occurrence based on rainfall predictions, historical data and climate change projections.
- Develop qualitative approaches to evaluate the impact of floods on local communities and the social benefit of avoiding flood damage to road infrastructure. Identify feasible flood-control measures and evaluate their cost and benefits.
- Develop a multi-period optimisation model for strategic, long-term planning of mitigation actions, which minimises the impact of floods on Hanoi’s urban road networks over different flood scenarios. Propose a set of economic and sustainable strategies for investing in flood avoidance and damage mitigation that are robust to the twin challenges of climate change and rapid urbanisation.
- Apply the developed methodology in Hanoi, and support local stakeholders to integrate the research results into future planning and interventions.
The project works in full partnership with local authorities, researchers and communities, including the Vietnam Transport and Development Strategy Institute (TDSI), which is the main government research institute under the Ministry of Transport; the Institute of Geophysics under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), with Dr Hiep Van Nguyen as Co-Applicant; the National Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment (IMHEN); and the Asian Management and Development Institute (AMDI). Expertise in operational research and optimisation methods is provided by the Principle Investigator, Dr Maria Paola Scaparra, of the University of Kent, and Dr Trung Hieu Tran, Co-Applicant and Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham.
Principal Investigator: Dr Maria Paola Scaparra, University of Kent
Co-Investigators: Dr Trung Hieu Tran, University of Nottingham; Professor Paul Nathanail, University of Nottingham; Dr Hiep Nguyen, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology
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