EconoMe online risk assessment tool

The greater the extent of human activity in the Alps, the louder the call for protective action against natural hazards, such as avalanches and rockfalls. Absolute protection can never be afforded, however, not least because resources are limited. Planners must therefore seek to protect human life and property by making the best possible use of the available financial and personnel resources. In recent years, the SLF has contributed to the development of various online risk assessment tools. They facilitate an assessment of the risk posed by natural hazards and help to examine the effectiveness and economy of different protective measures. Jointly developed by a consortium consisting of GEOTEST AG, geoformer igp AG, Gutwein IT-Services and the SLF, these tools are based on the methodology that underpins the Swiss National Risk Concept for Natural Hazards (RIKO).


The Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) engaged the forenamed consortium to develop the EconoMe tool. FOEN now uses the assessment tool to design appropriate protection projects where action needs to be taken against gravitational processes, including avalanches, debris flows and rockfalls. By analysing the balance between the costs and benefits of various protective measures, EconoMe facilitates an assessment of both their effectiveness (in reducing risk) and economy. Since 2008, the use of EconoMe to evaluate protection projects has been obligatory. One of the EconoMe development objectives was to originate a tool that was capable of comparing the projects it was assessing. The software therefore employs standardised scenarios and calculation factors that cannot be edited by the user. Access to EconoMe is restricted to authorised persons and institutions. This group of users can install an offline version on their own computers for practice purposes. The SLF assumed responsibility for the project's further development in 2013 and in 2015 the tool EconoMe-Railway was integrated into EconoMe.

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