Flood exposure analysis of road infrastructure – Comparison of different methods at national level

Papilloud, Tsolmongerel; Röthlisberger, Veronika; Loreti, Simone; Keiler, Margreth (2020). Flood exposure analysis of road infrastructure – Comparison of different methods at national level. International journal of disaster risk reduction, 47, p. 101548. Elsevier 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2020.101548

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Assessing the flood exposure of infrastructure is crucial for sustainable flood risk management. We propose to define road exposure to floods as “any road segment/element located within a flood hazard zone”. On the example of Switzerland, we develop and compare three methods to assess the flood exposure of the road infrastructure: absolute road area potentially flooded (method A), relative road area potentially flooded (method B), and a network-based approach using the edge betweenness centrality index (method C). The results are aggregated and ranked in grid cells of 2 km by 2 km for comparison. The ranks are directly proportional to exposure levels. The results present distinct spatial patterns; grid cells with higher values in method A indicate where more road surfaces are in a flood hazard zone (urban or high road density areas in flood plains), while method B highlights where most of the road surface is in flood hazard zones of predominantly mountainous areas of Switzerland. Higher values in method C present areas where the most-connected road links within a network are exposed to floods. Most of the grid cells that have higher values in method B than in method C indicate isolated mountain valleys that can be accessed only by a single road exposed to floods. The study demonstrates the importance of an appropriate choice of methods in flood exposure analysis. As exposure analysis is a key step in flood risk assessment, the presented results provide information essential for decision making in disaster risk reduction.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Geomorphology
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography

UniBE Contributor:

Papilloud, Tsolmongerel; Röthlisberger, Veronika Eva; Loreti, Simone and Keiler, Margreth


900 History > 910 Geography & travel
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology






[245] Mobiliar Lab für Naturrisiken Official URL




Hélène Christine Louise Barras

Date Deposited:

14 May 2020 10:01

Last Modified:

17 May 2020 02:45

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Flood exposure, Road network, Road area, Edge betweenness centrality, Spatial comparison, Spatial network analysis





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