Ho Chi Minh City could generate 1.4 billion USD by investing in making its transportation system more resilient in extreme weather conditions, a study released by Siemens and Arup said last week.

Calculations based on a review of HCM City's transportation network illustrate that – without intelligent solutions – its traffic congestion is estimated to have a direct cost to the city's economy of about 97 billion USD between 2015 and 2045.

Around 45 percent of the City is less than a metre above sea level, rendering the City and in particular, the transport system, highly exposed to flooding, especially during the rainy season.

An economic appraisal shows that an Integrated Management System (control centre) would take only eight years to become net positive in terms of costs and benefits. This could lead to a net benefit of 1.4 billion USD over the next 30 years.

"Infrastructure has a long lifespan. Investments made today will determine future development tomorrow, especially when the City has to cope with both population growth and an increase in severe weather events such as flooding," Michael Stevens, Siemens project leader of the study, said.

Based on the New York City's smart data on how to manage the system for better transport, the project has sought solutions for HCM City.

Project teams have talked with a number of transportation officials about the increasing number of motorcycles and cars and severe flooding, which have both contributed to traffic congestion.

"When a city relies heavily on individual traffic, the biggest lever is mass transport. Metro lines could be a solution, but they are very expensive and take very long to build. Intelligent traffic management systems can provide a head start for a more comprehensive mobility management approach," said Stephen Cook, associate director of Energy and Climate Change Consulting at Arup.

In HCM City, where public transport only represents 5 percent of total traffic, the number of delayed minutes is forecast to increase by 620 percent over the next 30 years, assuming no investments are made in transportation infrastructure, according to Arup analysis.

Recent evidence suggests that the frequency, extent and severity of extreme weather events is increasing around the world, exposing cities' transport infrastructure to more severe stresses and sudden shock events.

According to the World Bank, around 26 percent of the HCM City's population is affected by extreme storm events, but this share could climb to more than 60 percent by 2050.

The study shows that intelligent systems that forecast and respond to the impact of damaging weather events on the transportation system can ensure that periods of disruption are minimised and long ‑ term economic sustainability is not undermined.

Siemens and the consulting firm Arup prepared the study to show how intelligent infrastructure can assist cities in addressing the increased demand and at the same time offer better protection of their transport networks against extreme weather events.-VNA