Assessment of the susceptibility of roads to flooding based on geographical information – test in a flash flood prone area (the Gard region, France)
In flash flood prone areas, roads are often the first assets affected by inundations which make rescue operations difficult and represent a major threat to lives: almost half of the victims are car passengers trapped by floods. In the past years, the Gard region (France) road management services have realized an extensive inventory of the known road submersions that occurred during the last 40 years. This inventory provided an unique opportunity to analyse the causes of road flooding in an area frequently affected by severe flash floods. It will be used to develop a road submersion susceptibility rating method, representing the first element of a road warning system.
This paper presents the results of the analysis of this data set. A companion paper will show how the proposed road susceptibility rating method can be combined with distributed rainfall-runoff simulations to provide accurate road submersion risk maps.
The very low correlation between the various possible explanatory factors and the susceptibility to flooding measured by the number of past observed submersions implied the use of particular statistical analysis methods based on the general principals of the discriminant analysis.
The analysis led to the definition of four susceptibility classes for river crossing road sections. Validation tests confirmed that this classification is robust, at least in the considered area. One major outcome of the analysis is that the susceptibility to flooding is rather linked to the location of the road sections than to the size of the river crossing structure (bridge or culvert).