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Transport, Infrastructure and Building

Vulnerabilities Romania

The following vulnerabilities with respect to infrastructure and buildings have been identified (1):

  • Increase of the risk of earth slides;
  • Modification of the characteristics of building materials and of the building foundations (e.g. setting time of concrete);
  • Damage to buildings, infrastructure and transport conditions due to increased storm intensity, earth slides and coastal erosion;
  • Damage of the localities and infrastructure due to more frequent floods;
  • Loss of the existing construction stability in uneven areas, on fields sensitive to humidity or in flooded areas;
  • Increased costs of material and thermal isolation of building;
  • Damage of harbour infrastructure and river-borne transportation conditions as a result of the Danube flowing conditions;
  • Reduction of protection level of dams and quay walls due to sea level rise;
  • Increase of costs to build and maintain the transport infrastructure.


In Europe, the highest amount of cargo by means of inland waterways is transported in the Rhine–Main–Danube corridor. In this corridor, no decrease in the performance of inland waterway transport due to extreme weather events is expected till 2050 (10). Extreme weather events relevant to inland waterway transport are low-water events (drought), high-water events (floods) and ice occurrence. Of less importance are wind gusts and reduced visibility. There is no convincing evidence that low-water events will become significantly severer on the Rhine as well as the Upper Danube in the near future. However, on the Lower Danube, some impact of drought in association with increased summer heat might appear. Severe low-water situations seem to become more important in the period 2071–2100. A quantitative conclusion on the future effects of high water on inland waterways cannot be drawn at this stage (10).

Ice occurrence is decreasing, due to global warming, as well as human impacts leading to shorter periods of suspension of navigation in regions where navigation may be prevented by ice. In fact, the Upper and Middle Rhine navigation has not been suspended due to ice since at least the 1970s (11). For the near future (until 2050), wind gusts are expected to remain on the same level as today (12), thereby not decreasing the safety of inland waterway transport. Visibility seems to improve, if the results for European airports are considered (12), thereby improving the safety of inland waterway transport as well as operation of inland waterway vessels.


The changing climate has the potential regionally to increase premature deterioration and weathering impacts on the built environment, exacerbating vulnerabilities to climate extremes and disasters and negatively impacting the expected and useful life spans of structures (7).  


Small increases in climate extremes above thresholds or regional infrastructure ‘tipping points’ have the potential to result in large increases in damages to all forms of existing infrastructure nationally and to increase disaster risks (8). Since infrastructure systems, such as buildings, water supply, flood control, and transportation networks often function as a whole or not at all, an extreme event that exceeds an infrastructure design or ‘tipping point’ can sometimes result in widespread failure and a potential disaster (9).

Adaptation strategies in Romania

A selection of adaptation strategies that have been proposed (1):

  • revision of infrastructure such as drainage of rainwater, earth moving, roads, railways, bridges, tunnels;
  • identification of alternative transportation routes;
  • protection of railway infrastructure against erosion;
  • reinforcement of harbor structure to face heavier storms;
  • replacement of surface cables by underground cables;
  • promotion of new technologies for street carpet and runway, based on modified asphalt in order to prevent the permanent deformations (because of high temperature) and to provide resistance to cracking (because of low temperature);
  • promotion of different transport modes (railway, marine, river-borne transportation);
  • afforestation of the areas affected by floods and earth slides close to the communication lines;
  • promotion of prevention systems and fast efficient intervention in case of extreme weather phenomena;
  • increase urban storm water drainage capacity;
  • development of pavements that provide infiltration of rainwater;
  • extent green areas and water supply to reduceexcessive heat in cities;
  • development of construction standards for green buildings (storage and cycling of rainwater, water saving by efficient installations, thermal isolation);
  • use of renewable energy sources, and promotion of materials and constructive solutions suitable for the potential effects of climate change.


Soviet-era panel-style buildings are an important consideration when planning for climate change in the region. Most block flats, which were designed to have a lifespan of about thirty years, already were in disrepair at the time the regimes fell (2). Bulgaria, for instance, recently indicated that 10% of its panel dwellings were in need of urgent repairs (2) while the Slovak Ministry of Construction estimated that it would cost over 10.3 billion Euros and take more than thirty years to complete the structural repairs necessary to ensure the safety of these buildings (3).

Although they are in need of basic renovation, there is growing evidence that panel buildings, both block flats used for housing and public buildings of similar construction, have the potential to be efficiently renovated and to incorporate energy-saving retrofits. The major aspects of retrofitting focus on energy-saving measures. These include thermal insulation, replacement windows, and modernization of central heating systems. In addition to these measures, green roofing is being tested as a further means for improving the quality of living spaces as well as a way to manage fluctuations in precipitation. Studies suggest that rooftop gardens:

  • help to control interior temperature, by decreasing the heat entering and exiting a building through the roof, and thus reduce energy demand (4). Widespread introduction of gardens will add to urban greenspace and, in the process, help moderate heat island effects.
  • can reduce the level of runoff and moderate the potential of flooding during heavy rainfall (4,5).
  • assist in harvesting rainwater. The basic idea is that rainwater is filtered into storage tanks and then used for non-potable activities such as laundry, toilets, and watering plants (6).


The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Romania.

  1. Ministry of Environment and Forests (2010)
  2. Iliev and Yuksel (2004), in: Carmin and Zhang (2009)
  3. CiJ (2008), in: Carmin and Zhang (2009)
  4. Bass and Baskaran (2001), in: Carmin and Zhang (2009)
  5. Hadley and Carter (2006), in: Carmin and Zhang (2009)
  6. Carmin and Zhang (2009)
  7. Auld (2008b); Larsen et al. (2008); Stewart et al. (2011), all in: IPCC (2012)
  8. Coleman (2002); Munich Re (2005); Auld (2008b); Larsen et al. (2008); Kwadijk et al. (2010); Mastrandrea et al. (2010), all in: IPCC (2012)
  9. Ruth and Coelho (2007); Haasnoot et al. (2009), both in: IPCC (2012)
  10. Schweighofer (2014)
  11. WSD Südwest (2009), in: Schweighofer (2014)
  12. Vajda et al. (2011), in: Schweighofer (2014)

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