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A decision support system to proactively manage subsurface utilities

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Barry Clarke, Dr Ross Stirling, Professor Stephanie Glendinning


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Critical infrastructure assets are defined in terms of their purpose (e.g. roads, water, and energy) yet the ground, which supports these assets, can also be considered a critical asset leading to the conclusion that any assessment of critical infrastructure must consider the ground in that assessment. While the interdependency of critical infrastructures is recognised, the consequences of failing to recognise the ground as an asset can lead to failure of the infrastructure it supports. This motivates the need for a decision support system for subsurface utilities that takes into account the surrounding ground and the overlying road structure. These facilities mostly exist in an urban environment. The ground supports the road and the underlying utility which means the failure of any of these assets (road, ground, or utility) can trigger a failure in the others, the most extreme example being the collapse of roads due to erosion of the supporting ground by a leaking pipe. This paper describes the principles that underpin a novel decision support system for those engaged in street works of any kind, and how a multidisciplinary approach is being used to create a practical toolkit to reduce risk and minimise disruption to proactively manage subsurface utilities using site observations and investigations, public and private databases, expert opinions captured in a number of ontologies and an inference engine to produce guidance that takes into account risk and sustainability criteria.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Clarke BG, Magee D, Dimitrova V, Cohn AG, Du H, Mahesar Q, Sadeghioon AM, Rogers CDF, Gunn D, Entwisle D, Reeves H, Collins R, Stirling R, Glendinning S

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: International Symposium for Next Generation Infrastructure

Year of Conference: 2017

Pages: 99-108

Online publication date: 11/09/2017

Acceptance date: 07/08/2017

Publisher: ISNGI