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Research-informed design, management and maintenance of infrastructure slopes: development of a multi-scalar approach

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Stephanie Glendinning, Dr Peter Helm, Dr Mohamed Rouainia, Dr Ross Stirling, Professor Jonathon Chambers


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The UK's transport infrastructure is one of the most heavily used in the world. The performance of these networks is critically dependent on the performance of cutting and embankment slopes which make up £20B of the £60B asset value of major highway infrastructure alone. The rail network in particular is also one of the oldest in the world: many of these slopes are suffering high incidents of instability (increasing with time). This paper describes the development of a fundamental understanding of earthwork material and system behaviour, through the systematic integration of research across a range of spatial and temporal scales. Spatially these range from microscopic studies of soil fabric, through elemental materials behaviour to whole slope modelling and monitoring and scaling up to transport networks. Temporally, historical and current weather event sequences are being used to understand and model soil deterioration processes, and climate change scenarios to examine their potential effects on slope performance in futures up to and including the 2080s. The outputs of this research are being mapped onto the different spatial and temporal scales of infrastructure slope asset management to inform the design of new slopes through to changing the way in which investment is made into aging assets. The aim ultimately is to help create a more reliable, cost effective, safer and more resilient transport system.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Glendinning S, Helm PR, Rouainia M, Stirling RA, Asquith JD, Hughes PN, Toll DG, Clarke D, Powrie W, Smethurst J, Hughes D, Harley R, Karim R, Dixon N, Crosby C, Chambers J, Dijkstra T, Gunn D, Briggs K, Muddle D

Editor(s): Utili,S

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: International Symposium on Geohazards and Geomechanics

Year of Conference: 2015

Pages: 1-22

Online publication date: 09/09/2015

Acceptance date: 09/09/2015

Publisher: IOP Publishing


DOI: 10.1088/1755-1315/26/1/012005