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Climate Change: Assessing its impact on transport productivity over the next decades

Extreme climate conditions are affecting transport operations in an unprecedented way. According to most studies, extreme climate conditions will become more frequent. 

Colombia can minimize the productivity costs of extreme conditions by building a resilient transport infrastructure. But the decision to go ahead with these significant investments, needs to consider the costs for the economy of not doing so. We assisted the National Planning Department (DNP) of Colombia to figure out these costs.

We developed a model that uses as inputs the documented impact on the Colombian transport infrastructure of historical transport events and future scenarios of rain and sea level, by region and year.

In rural roads, extreme rain patterns will disturb mostly the Andean and the South Pacific regions. The rain patterns will also reduce the average speed in urban areas such as Bogotá, by as much as 15%. Coastal floods will generate losses in the maritime mode by diminishing operational hours. 

With our model, we estimated the impact that future extreme climate events would have on Colombian transport infrastructure, including road, rail, and maritime transport. We estimated that extreme climate events would reduce the productivity of the road transport sector by 5.9% and a reduction of 2.3% in the productivity of transportation as a whole. 

Our estimates and models were used on the publication by DNP "Economic Impacts of Climate Change"

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