Accident Risk and Environmental Assessment : Development of an Assessment Guideline with Examination in Northern Scandinavia

University dissertation from Uppsala : Kulturgeografiska institutionen

Abstract: In environmental impact assessment (EIA), accident risk should be considered as one impact. However, few studies have compared assessed risk levels with documented accidents. There is thus a need for assessing accuracy of risk assessment methodologies. The aim of this study was to develop and examine a risk assessment guideline based on environmental assessment. The guideline examination was carried out along the railway and the road between Kiruna and Narvik, Northern Scandinavia. The examined hazards were avalanches, debris flows, rock falls, slush flows, torrents, moose and reindeer. Documented accidents were quantified into an accident level. For each hazard type, six sections/sites were assessed. The propensities of these hazards were analysed through environmental assessments, especially by utilising geomorphology. Then, the accident densities along the sections/sites were compared with assessed accident phase indices describing risk and hazard in both spatial and temporal dimensions. The average uncertainty factors for both the risk and the hazard indices were about 5. This implies a fairly good precision. Risk and hazard indices were also rated and compared to the accident density rates. Thereafter, railway and road information was split up as different proposal alternatives in an EIA context. The total risk for each proposal was compared with the total accident density. The risk assessment guideline proved to be cost-efficient, rapid and relatively reliable in comparing accident risk.

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