Conventional flood risk methods typically focus on estimation at a single location, which can be inadequate for civil infrastructure systems such as road or railway infrastructure. This is because rainfall extremes are spatially dependent; to understand overall system risk, it is necessary to assess the interconnected elements of the system jointly. For example, when designing evacuation routes it is necessary to understand the risk of one part of the system failing given that another region is flooded or exceeds the level at which evacuation becomes necessary. Similarly, failure of any single part of a road section (e.g., a flooded river crossing) may lead to the wider system's failure (i.e., the entire road becomes inoperable). This study demonstrates a spatially dependent intensity–duration–frequency (IDF) framework that can be used to estimate flood risk across multiple catchments, accounting for dependence both in space and across different critical storm durations. The framework is demonstrated via a case study of a highway upgrade comprising five river crossings. The results show substantial differences in conditional and unconditional design flow estimates, highlighting the importance of taking an integrated approach. There is also a reduction in the estimated failure probability of the overall system compared with the case where each river crossing is treated independently. The results demonstrate the potential uses of spatially dependent intensity–duration–frequency methods and suggest the need for more conservative design estimates to take into account conditional risks.

Figure 4. The flow chart for the overall methodology.

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