About the project

Ensure the availability of transport infrastructure with regards to natural hazards, especially extreme rainfall, through a risk-based design of the former.

Project Topic

Currently, owners and operators of land transport infrastructures exposed to rainfall-induced hazards are rarely aware of risk-related concepts when assessing protection goals for their structures with regards to flooding events. Thus, the current practice is mostly based on a deterministic mindset designing and protecting all infrastructure elements to the same level of security regardless of the actual vulnerabilities and criticalities. Additionally, climate change and its impact on the resulting extreme rainfall events (frequency, intensity and duration) has to be taken into account.

However, past events have highlighted the necessity to adjust the required security level to the actual risk. This implies regarding not only the exposure, but also the vulnerability and criticality of infrastructures. Designing against security concerns with a specific return period, e.g. 100 years, may be appropriate for single infrastructure elements. However, applying exactly the same return period for disruption of an entire network would most likely be inappropriate. Thus, the challenge is to establish a comprehensive approach addressing these security issues having an impact on the availability and quality of transport networks.


The recent extreme rainfall events which severely affected the TEN-T network in several Member States in June 2013 illustrate the relevance of the topic: In Austria, the main east-west-going transport corridor (road and rail) was blocked by floods and mudflows at numerous locations, including many would-be alternative routes. The trans-national aspect became evident, when popular short-cuts via neighbouring Bavaria (Germany) were equally disrupted. Parts of the east-west corridor remained closed down for an entire week with no relevant alternative available.

Project Objectives

  • To advance the design of new land transport infrastructure towards a risk-based approach with regard to security aspects caused by rainfall-induced natural hazards.
  • To develop a comprehensive approach for a risk-based assessment and adaptation of existing land transport infrastructure with respect to rainfall-induced security aspects.
  • To foster the awareness of land transport infrastructure owners and operators for a risk-orientated mindset on security to ensure the availability of his network.
  • To support the dissemination and implementation of the envisaged methodology via a user-friendly handbook.


RAIN-EX will concentrate on developing a practical methodology for the identification and assessment of both vulnerable transport infrastructures towards extreme rainfalls as well as critical ones, in terms of criticality of an object to the functioning and operation of the whole transport system. The proposed methodology will be based on expert knowledge and will include qualitative and quantitative analyses regarding the assessment of the vulnerability and criticality of relevant transport infrastructures. In order to accomplish these methodological objectives, a holistic approach will be deployed, bringing together interdisciplinary experts from across Europe in order to derive the necessary qualitative approach as well as carry out quantitative assessments.

The basic objective is a practice-oriented and applicable methodology and a comprehensive and well-developed security handbook. The advancement of the project will be monitored and evaluated by densely-set internal meetings, the envisaged Advisory Boards, as well as through the results of targeted workshops.

Project Participants

Target groups

  • Public and private owners / operators of road and rail transport infrastructure in Europe
  • Authorities, responsible for the implementation of design standards for land transport infrastructure
  • Public and private owners / operators of waterways in Europe


  • Project partners and their expert networks across Europe
  • Member State authorities, concerned with the protection of infrastructure against flooding events
  • European Instituions, such as COM, dealing with the implementation of European Directives on the protection of critical infrastructure
  • National research programmes, adapting the results of the project


  • From Owners and Operators: 20
  • From MS authorities: 20
  • From EU authorities: 20
  • From Expert Networks: 50
  • From Private Sector: 20
  • From Project Partners: 20



The main result of the project is a ready for practice handbook on risk management of land transport infrastructure against extreme flooding events. This guide will enable owners and operators to assess their exisiting infrastructure regarding protection goals with respect to criticality of the strcutures.

Furthermore, an approach will be developed on the adaptation of land transport infrastructure design, including criticality as a decisive element.

Results/outputs/achievement/deliverables/end products of the project include:

  • Handbook for risk management of flooding events for land transport infrastructure
  • 5 Research Reports (for each WP)
  • 2 Meetings with the Advisory Board
  • 4 Papers in relevant journals
  • 4 Presentations at national / European / International conferences
  • A Project Flyer
  • A Project Website


Based on an analysis of the state of the art, RAIN-EX aims at developing a detailed assessment of regionally differentiated extreme rainfall scenarios throughout Europe and link them with the identification of types of infrastructures and their vulnerabilities. Additionally, RAIN-EX aims to assess the network criticality of these infrastructure objects. Based on these results, RAIN-EX will assist the design of new or the adaptation of existing infrastructures using a risk-based approach. Additionally, the envisaged methodology as well as its effectiveness will be validated for selected infrastructure objects by applying the methodology developed to real infrastructure.

RAIN-EX has a strong European focus since the impact of extreme rainfall, frequently transcends the borders of individual EU MS countries. A regional flood, for instance, being primarily a concern for the region where it occurs may have dramatic consequences for the overall traffic and goods flow of the entire economy. The European transport system including its physical transport infrastructure accordingly, has to be seen as the backbone of Europe’s highly integrated economy. If a particular transit route in a certain region is affected by an extreme rainfall, this may have significant economic and social consequences for all European MS.

Need more information?

For further details about the project RAIN-EX please contact the project manager.