An experimental workshop to question the implications of an increase in extreme weather events frequency on the organization of French railways system

Abstract : Entangled in a complex socioeconomic environment, SNCF, the French national state-owned railway organization, is a good example of a company currently favoring reactive incremental adaptation to climate change over anticipated transformations. We designed and organized an experimental workshop to test how opening an exploratory space to discuss about the possible consequences of climate change may challenge this status-quo. Based on our previous work with SNCF, we decided to focus on increased climate variability in summer and extreme heat as potential disruptive characteristics of climate change. This article reports about this experiment and analyzes its outcomes, revealing that exploratory thinking can effectively raise original questions. Through the discussion, participants questioned management practices (e.g. vegetation management), but also management policies and guidelines (e.g. crisis management) and strategic investments. Moving from internal management concerns to social issues, they unveil critical governance challenges. At the end of the day, each institutional actor within the railway system-i.e. the infrastructure manager, mobility services providers, and traffic authorities-have to choose among several possible attitudes towards adaptation. Our discussions shows that these choices will especially depends on the overall market structure, which is different from one service to another and rapidly evolving. Collective adaption is therefore not self-evident and will only happen as the result of combined strategic decisions.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, July 11, 2018 - 1:00:33 PM
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Vivian Dépoues, Jean-Paul Vanderlinden, Tommaso Venturini, Aglaé Jézéquel. An experimental workshop to question the implications of an increase in extreme weather events frequency on the organization of French railways system. 2018. ⟨hal-01835393⟩

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