Adaptation of road infrastructure to climate change

Project 4
Development of a model for assessing landslide risk areas on the federal highway network and creation of a national hazard map
Source: Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt)


The potential of landslides and slope failures present a great danger to the federal highway network. Beside factors such as geology, morphology, hydrology and vegetation, the climate plays a significant triggering role in terms of the probability of landslides. Based on the anticipated climatic developments, including changed temperature and precipitation properties, the risk potential increases. Due to this development, the extension and new construction of federal highways, as well as the maintainence of existing road networks are subject to a greater risk regarding the extent of damage and therefore increased construction, maintenance and service costs.

The pilot project „Assessment of slope failure and landslide risks due to increasing extreme weather events“ already developed a geotechnical -climatic model approach for a first esti-mation of emerging landslide threats in selected territories.

The research project intends to further develop this model approach and generate a national hazard map by taking further landslide-relevant parameters as well as potential risk assess-ment into consideration. This will be used within a nationwide model based on the entire federal highway network and in accordance with an assessment schema and should provide a time-structured overview of emerging, potential landslide risk zones, drawing attention to each key area where more precise assessment or further measures are necessary.


A geographical information system (GIS) was designed to implement a nationwide, empiri-cal-statistic assessment scheme that identifies landslide-risk zones along federal highway networks, as well as for generating a related national hazard map.

Information from the real world can thus be transferred to a computer-supported model and analysed, whereby landslide-relevant factors such as geology, slope inclination, land use and drainage areas, as well as an influx of simulated data up until the year 2100 of the climate parameters precipitation, heavy rainfall and frost periods from regional climate models REMO (Regional model) and COSMO-CLM (COSMO-Climate Local Model). The latter data sets enable a time-dependent assessment of emerging potential risks. Individual factors are assessed, rated and linked together. Initially, a geotechnical model will be developed together with the climatic model to become a geotechnical-climatic overall model or hazard map.


The results of this research will be published here on completion of the project.

Project data


Term of project: 15/2/2012 – 14/10/2014

Landslide Research Centre at the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz

BASt unit Z5
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