Last week, FIRE Lab hosted a one-day workshop with collaborators Maria Pregnolato (Bristol Uni), and Carlos Cabo and Pipo Roces (Swansea Uni). The focus of the workshop was on bridges, particularly those occur where roads cross over rivers (what we refer to as road-river crossings). At the workshop, we shared ideas about methods and strategies to overcome data challenges associated with locating bridges, and attributing characteristics that are important to our understanding of the infrastructure as well as associated risks. As a multi-disciplinary group we shared perspectives and ideas from engineering, data and spatial sciences, as well as geography and ecology.  Our goal is to work together and use publicly available data to develop methods that are scalable and value-adding for different groups, such as County Councils in the UK, and that can better inform society about risks associated with river flooding. 

Team photo as the sun was setting post-workshop. Pictured (from left): Steph Januchowski-Hartley; Carlos Cabo; Pipo Roces; James White; Maria Pregnolato and Sayali Pawar).

Ahead of the workshop we focused to better understand existing publicly available spatial data (think georeferenced locations) for locations of bridges at road-river crossings in the UK, and brought together those data with value-added data that FIRE Lab had mapped in earlier research. We also worked to address data gaps about the characteristics of bridges, such as their height, which is an important consideration when evaluating potential risks to these infrastructures from flooding. 

Coming out of the workshop we scoped out two papers: 1) a perspective paper focused on challenges and opportunities for management of bridges at road-river crossings, and 2) a paper focused on the methods we are developing to overcome data limitations for bridge characteristics at broad spatial scales. 

Our next workshop is planned for end of March 2020, when we hope to have a few more updates to share here on the blog. Stay tuned, and look for outcomes from a related workshop we have organized for late February exploring people’s perspectives on risk and vulnerability in relation to this infrastructure.

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