Pollutants discharged by roads may impact water bodies and soils. The best method to characterize road runoff is by monitoring, which is not always possible due to human or material constraints. Therefore, prediction tools can be a valuable method to manage road runoff discharges and protect the environment. The present work reviewed and evaluated international tools for road runoff quality prediction, in order to assess if an existing tool could be suitable for wide usage by stakeholders in Europe. Four tools from the USA and Europe were selected and tested at 22 road sites located in regions with annual precipitation values ranging from 500 to 1,000 mm, from 7 European countries. The results for the SMC of TSS, Zn, Cu, Pb and Cd showed coefficients of determination (R2) from 0.0,004 to 0.2890 for the different pollutants and tools. It was concluded that none of the tools could predict the road runoff pollutant concentrations, except for the country where it has been calibrated. The findings support practitioners and researchers all over the world, pointing out directions, and gaps to be filled, regarding the management of road runoff discharges and use of prediction tools.


  • Tools for road runoff quality prediction could support environmental management.

  • Evaluation of tools in seven European countries with monitoring data sets.

  • Site Median Concentrations of road runoff change over time and region.

  • It is not feasible that a tool accounts for the whole phenomena of road runoff.

  • Need for innovative approaches in water management under climate change.

Graphical Abstract

Graphical Abstract
Graphical Abstract
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