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Summary Report No. 122

Adaptation to Climate Change in the Transport Sector: A Review
K. Eisenack, R. Stecker, D. Reckien, E. Hoffmann (Mai 2011)


The paper identifies the literature that deals with adaptation to climate change in the transport sector by means of an extensive search, and presents a systematic review of the publications. Although it is frequently claimed that this socially and economically important sector is particularly vulnerable to climate change, there is comparatively little research into adaptation by industry, utilities and settlements. The 63 sources we found are analysed following an action theory of adaptation that distinguishes different adaptational functions. A very heterogeneous set of adaptations is identified and the actors and means of adaptation are classified by an open coding procedure. The paper shows that a broad diversity of actors is relevant for adaptation in the transport sector – ranging from transportation service providers to public and private sector actors and private households. Most adaptations discussed in the literature require inputs in the form of technical means, institutional means, and knowledge. The review shows that the existing literature either focuses on overly general and vague proposals, or on detailed technical measures. The paper concludes that the knowledge on adapting transport to climate change is still in a stage of infancy and suggests fields for further research.


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