For National Road Administrations (NRAs), incorporating climate change and resilience concepts in decision making is a balancing act of ambition and pragmatism. NRAs have ambitions to use new approaches and technologies yet need to balance that with pragmatic and proven practices, whilst information needs and data availability do not always match. The most crucial question might be how to build and implement the business case for resilience via adaptation, balancing the service levels that the road network needs to achieve with the costs and benefits for enhancing resilience.

This balancing act is the story of the ICARUS project, which refers to the Greek mythology with the legend of Icarus, the son of the master craftsman Daedalus. Daedalus constructed wings, made of feathers and wax, for his son to escape from Crete and gave him the instruction not to fly too high or the sun would melt the wax, nor to fly too low or the sea would clog his wings. It is a metaphor for the key challenges that NRAs face during the integration of climate change into their decision-making processes; if they work towards a very high service level (i.e. flying too high), measures will probably prove to be too costly compared to the benefits and will not be implemented. By focussing mostly on the cost of measures (i.e. flying too low), the measures won’t be very effective in increasing the resilience of the road network and reaching the required service level. We believe that a better understanding and assessment of the balance between service levels, cost and benefits of measures is key for implementation of climate change resilience.



How to define and use minimum viable service levels for evaluating resilience and adaptation options

Identifying barriers

Identifying current barriers and gaps for technical execution of resilience assessments


Resources and training

Guidance, training seminars and on-line materials for managers and practitioners

Identifying and overcoming barriers

Many European NRAs have long recognised that climate change will have a significant effect on their assets and operations, as well as on the services that the road network provides for society. Consequently, significant progress has been achieved by research conducted in the past decade. Conducting a resilience assessment has become relatively common practice and the forthcoming development of adaptation strategies has also been undertaken in many cases. However, the step to full implementation in all processes and on all organizational levels of the NRAs poses a significant challenge. The ICARUS consortium aims to ensure that the previous research and lessons learnt from various case studies can be successfully implemented into the NRAs processes.

We will furthermore identify current barriers and gaps for technical execution of resilience assessments and suggest how to overcome these. Implementation will be ensured via development of training material and guidelines.

Supporting implementation

The ICARUS project will produce results that progress the current State of the Art and will be of immediate benefit to NRAs.

  • An overview of the baseline for climate change resilience assessments, resilience evaluation and the use of cost benefit assessments for climate change adaptation
  • A report on the use of impact chains for understanding of direct and indirect impacts
  • Guidelines on how to define and use minimum viable service levels for evaluating resilience and adaptation options based on quantification and valuation of associated costs and wider benefits and considering a whole life perspective
  • Guidelines providing an overview and characterization of measures, aided towards implementation in the various NRAs processes
  • Demonstration report showing how adaptation measures can be evaluated
  • Report with success factors on implementing Nature Based Solutions,
  • Resource training pack for different target audiences to ensure implementation of output

Funding Partner


The CEDR Transnational Research Programme (TRP) operates through a series of annual transnational calls on topics that address the needs of European road authorities.

The Aim of the Climate Change Resilience programme to undertake research on integrating climate change into decision-making processes and implementing existing research into practice.

Roads and climate change

Call 2021 climate change resilience

The results will help to avoid and minimize the disruptive impacts of increasingly extreme weather events on the existing road infrastructure.

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CEDR (Conference of European Directors of Roads)

CEDR is an organisation of European national road administrations promoting excellence in the management of roads.

The CEDR Strategy comprises the Vision, Mission and Strategic Goals.

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Case Studies

Building the business case of resilience enhancement

The case studies will highlight methods and approaches used, to provide an evidence base for the need to enhance resilience.

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Climate Hazards

Hazards related to flooding, temperature, including extremes of temperature will be considered over a range of European climatic zones.

Resilience Assessment

We will provide information on how resilience is assessed and measured at various scales, for example, individual assets, networks and connections.


There will be a range of solutions presented, potentially including; hard measures, soft measures, hybrid measures and particular focus on nature based solutions. There will be consideration of how such solutions have, or will be, implemented by NRAs on an ongoing basis, and what ongoing monitoring will be undertaken.