The ongoing climate change can increase the uncertainty and, therefore, the risks connected both with daily operations and long-term planning of the transport infrastructure maintenance system.
The typical activities performed by Ecogest must be integrated into a complex reassessment of the environmental maintenance management processes: it is, therefore, essential to pay the utmost attention to including climate and morphological determinants as an integral part of the design phase of the entire infrastructure.
Climate change issues are one of the most complex challenges of our times that concern scientists, politicians, and a larger audience, starting with the youngest, which today includes many of the world’s opinion-makers. For these historical reasons, as well as its long-term vocation, Ecogest has established an internal unit to collect, process and develop data and research activities in the field of climate change.
As part of the services offered by the group, and thanks to its scientific and innovative approach, the company can provide private and public clients with a scientific analysis based on the climate conditions andits evolution. Ecogest can put at the disposal of the client an innovative and undoubtedly effective know-how, which is becoming increasingly important both for the protection and safety of workers, construction sites, and end-users in the maintenance sector, as well as for the security, durability, and safety of the works.
In recent years, Ecogest’s executives, external consultants, as well as Valerio Molinari, in the capacity of the guardian of Ecogest’s multiannual know-how, have attended and spoken at events and conferences held in Italy and abroad (Greece, Portugal, Morocco, United States) focused on these very issues, and specifically on the effects of climate change on roadside vegetation maintenance processes along transport infrastructures.
To structure the experience and to rationalize and make available to everyone the data collected over the years along roads and motorways throughout Italy, in November 2020, Ecogest SpA established the Climate Change Study Centre (CSCC), an initiative promoted by the holding company owned by the Molinari family, Greenway Group Srl.
CCSC is a simple and functional body that collaborates with experts and professionals working in the maintenance of roads and highways, as well as transport infrastructure maintenance in general. Its main objective is to develop innovative models to be offered to highway operators and concession companies and to the whole road sector, to address and overcome issues related to climate change and its impacts. These models are developed in such a way as to include all elements, beginning with vegetation and stormwater facilities, to ensure resilience, greater safety, and durability of the infrastructures examined.
In this regard, it was crucial to collaborate with the founders of Kassandra, a software capable of developing virtual prospective scenarios starting from scientific parametric models. It is an unprecedented application of virtual reality to the transport infrastructures’ maintenance models, able to visualize simply the current and future situation, when the correct models are applied, of the quality of the infrastructure.
The CCSC began its journey in Italy, with the first pilot study consisting of an analysis of three sections of a motorway operated by CAV SpA (Concessioni Autostradali Venete). Through the Kassandra innovative method, this study analyzes the state of the sites. It identifies a “resilience index” based on the Kassandra study parameters and identifies different scenarios based on altering those parameters until an optimal solution is reached.
The simulation of an optimal scenario through applying Kassandra enables us to hypothesize a series of eco-sustainable environmental mitigation and compensation measures that can be included in the detailed design later. These studies will finally make it possible to identify the best interventions to be adopted to optimize, both technically and economically, the infrastructures’ and green areas’ maintenance and management plans, thus increasing each infrastructure’s efficiency period.