Risk Assessment Conclusion
The assessment found that climate risks pose a threat to on-time performance, customer complaints and reputation, working conditions, and health and safety. While these risks may not result in infrastructure failure, they still create a profound threat to the organization over time. Passengers get frustrated with such annoyances or modest dangers when compared to what they imagine efficient, well-run transit should look like.
“You’ll notice that a lot of these aren’t exactly what you’d call catastrophic risk,” says Quentin. He thinks there has been too much of a focus on catastrophic risk in the adaptation sector. “These are real concerns, but organizations like Metrolinx also need to ask themselves: ‘How does this impact our day-to-day operations?’ It’s not just about floods and ice storms.” While addressing the catastrophic risks from extreme weather conditions is important, so too is being able to deliver reliable and safe transit service under a wide range of weather conditions.
Teasing out these interlocking relationships is complex work. For example, a number of snow-related contracts are tied to a set start of the winter season, but both the season start and end dates are changing now. It sounds banal, but there are hundreds of such issues. Quentin says he’s lucky that there is buy-in for taking climate vulnerability seriously across the organization, especially at the executive level, and that Metrolinx has staff committed to the task of assessing climate risks and considering them in operations, asset management, and the design and construction of new infrastructure. “Climate risk now has a direct sightline to senior management, which keeps it fresh and on people’s radar. The next few years for this stuff will be absolutely crucial.”