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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 18, issue 8 | Copyright

Special issue: Landslide–transport network interactions

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 2093-2109, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 08 Aug 2018

Research article | 08 Aug 2018

Natural hazard events affecting transportation networks in Switzerland from 2012 to 2016

Jérémie Voumard, Marc-Henri Derron, and Michel Jaboyedoff Jérémie Voumard et al.
  • Risk analysis group, Institute of Earth Sciences, FGSE, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland

Abstract. Switzerland is threatened by many natural hazards. Many events occur in built-up environments, affecting infrastructure, buildings, and transportation networks, occasionally producing expensive damages. This expense is why large landslides are generally well studied and monitored in Switzerland to reduce the financial and human risks. However, there is a lack of data on small events, which have recently affected roads and railways. Therefore, in this study, all of the reported natural hazard events that have affected Swiss transportation networks since 2012 were collected in a database. More than 800 events affecting roads and railways were recorded within in a 5-year period from 2012 to 2016. These events are classified into six classes: earth flow, debris flow, rockfall, flood, snow avalanche, and others.

Data from Swiss online press articles were sorted by Google Alerts. The search was based on more than 30 keywords in three languages (Italian, French, and German). After verification that the article was related to an actual event that affected a road or a railway track, it was studied in detail. We collected information on more than 170 attributes of events, such as the event date, event type, event localization, meteorological conditions, impacts and damages on the track, and human damages. From this database, a variety of trends over the 5-year period can be observed in the event attributes, particularly the spatial and temporal distributions of the events, and their consequences on traffic (closure duration, deviation, costs of direct damage).

The database is imperfect due to the short period of data collection, but it highlights the non-negligible impact of small natural hazard events on roads and railways in Switzerland at a national level. This database contributes to understanding and quantification of these types of events and better integration in risk assessment.

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Short summary
Natural hazard events affecting the Swiss transportation networks during the 5-year time period 2012–2016 were collected in a database with a significant effort for small events (< 10 m−3) that are generally not radar screened. Of 848 collected events, 95 % are small events for which annual direct cost was estimated at EUR 2.5 million. Analysis of the 172 attributes by event allows us to highlight their spatial, temporal, and damage trends as well as their impacts on road and railway traffic.
Natural hazard events affecting the Swiss transportation networks during the 5-year time period...