The results in Alireza Rickman's dissertation calls for an updated understanding of interrelation between road characteristics and climate.
What is the topic of your Doctoral Thesis?
The topic of my doctoral thesis is modeling and assessment of Swedish roads within crucial climate conditions in relation to road disasters.
Why did you choose this topic?
Significant number of flooding incidents on Swedish roads in the past two decades which is correlated to climate change and importance of sustainable transport infrastructure were motivations for this research. Failure of road infrastructures due to flash floods and inundations inflicts substantial costs to both estate and private sector and results in the interruptions in transportation of people and goods. Therefore an adaptive and updated understanding of interrelation between Swedish road characteristics and climate conditions seems crucial.
What are the most important results?
Remarkable outcomes of this research were better understanding of the Swedish road network conditions from hydro-geology perspective. A method developed to predict locations in watersheds which roads are susceptible to being flooded. Furthermore, road sections in risk of critical groundwater levels and high moisture content were studied and modeled. Geology, morphology, topography and cover of landscape are important governing factors that together with climate forcing factors define the hydrological conditions of roads both in watershed scale and road-section scale.
Did you come across something unexpected during your thesis research?
The results in general were not unexpected because of the tight interrelation of climate condition and landscape characteristics. But significance of some factors such as subgrade material in road construction, soil stratifications and road drainage functionality also locations of roads in landscape in defining hydrological conditions were somewhat unexpected. What made this research remarkable was identifying and understanding such governing factors which put roads in risk of developing wet conditions both in watershed scale and road-section scale.
Who will benefit from your results?
Outcomes of this research can be used as a fundamental element in designing new roads, outlining maintenance of existing roads and planning sustainable transportation. Infrastructure planners in different levels, consultant companies, insurance companies and transport planners and in general everyone can benefit from the results.
What will you do next?
I hope to continue doing research and further develop applications of such knowledge in different areas and conditions in Sweden.
Alireza Rickman presented his dissertation Road disasters? Modeling and assessment of Swedish roads within crucial climate conditions in spring 2016.