Articles | Volume 373
Proc. IAHS, 373, 143–146, 2016
Proc. IAHS, 373, 143–146, 2016

  12 May 2016

12 May 2016

Vehicles instability criteria for flood risk assessment of a street network

Chiara Arrighi1, Nicolas Huybrechts2,3, Abdellatif Ouahsine2, Patrick Chassé3, Hocine Oumeraci4, and Fabio Castelli1 Chiara Arrighi et al.
  • 1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Florence, Florence, Italy
  • 2Laboratoire Roberval, Sorbonne Universités, Université de Technologie de Compiègne, CNRS, Centre de Recherches de Royallieu, Compiègne Cedex, France
  • 3CEREMA-DTecEMF, Margny Lès Compiègne, France
  • 4TU Brauschweig, Leicthweiss Institute for Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources, Braunschweig, Germany

Abstract. The mutual interaction between floods and human activity is a process, which has been evolving over history and has shaped flood risk pathways. In developed countries, many events have illustrated that the majority of the fatalities during a flood occurs in a vehicle, which is considered as a safe shelter but it may turn into a trap for several combinations of water depth and velocity. Thus, driving a car in floodwaters is recognized as the most crucial aggravating factor for people safety. On the other hand, the entrainment of vehicles may locally cause obstructions to the flow and induce the collapse of infrastructures. Flood risk to vehicles can be defined as the combination of the probability of a vehicle of being swept away (i.e. the hazard) and the actual traffic/parking density, i.e. the vulnerability. Hazard for vehicles can be assessed through the spatial identification and mapping of the critical conditions for vehicles incipient motion. This analysis requires a flood map with information on water depth and velocity and consistent instability criteria accounting for flood and vehicles characteristics. Vulnerability is evaluated thanks to the road network and traffic data. Therefore, vehicles flood risk mapping can support people's education and management practices in order to reduce the casualties. In this work, a flood hazard classification for vehicles is introduced and an application to a real case study is presented and discussed.

Short summary
Many flood events have illustrated that the majority of the fatalities during an inundation occurs in a vehicle. So far, only experimental test on small scale cars have been carried out to identify the critical combinations of water depth and velocity causing the onset of motion. A dimensionless approach is here proposed to define a clearer identification of stable and unstable conditions for flooded vehicles.