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Extreme weather hammering E.U. transport sector

Extreme weather conditions are costing the European Union's transport system at least 15 billion euros ($18.423 billion) a year, according to a study from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

The most vulnerable to extreme weather is road traffic compared with other modes of transport, with one factor that sector's not being centralized or professionally controlled, unlike rail and air travel.

A bulk of the costs comes from road accidents, with the associated material damage and psychological suffering. These costs, however, are expected to decrease in volume, though time-related costs attributable to delays are projected to increase.

The consequences of extreme weather are visible in road traffic through increased road accidents and the cost arising from them, but in other traffic modes, it is more of time-related costs with a variety of causes – typically delays.

Aviation in particular is prone to time-related costs in extreme weather. The costs reach by the billions of euros – borne by travelers and airline operators – but infrastructure-related costs did not have a lion's share of the total costs, the report said.

Time-related costs will also plague passengers in road traffic, as extreme weather conditions slow down traffic, keeping people away from productive work. At the same time, however, road accidents will be on the decline in the E.U.

The researchers estimate that improvements to vehicle safety, along with the warming caused by climate change, may reduce the cost arising from road accidents by as much as half by 2040-2070. – EcoSeed Staff

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