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Project Type
UTRC Advanced Technology Initiative
Project Dates
12/31/2007 - 12/31/2008
Principal Investigators
Project Status

Infrastructure system components such as bridges, highways, tunnels, traffic systems, road pavements, and other systems are considered assets that should be protected and properly managed. Yet, the degree of deterioration and the risk of exposure to natural (e.g., earthquakes, floods, etc.) as well as malicious disasters are dangerously high. Major decisions must be made to allocate the available but limited funds for maintaining and safeguarding of our national infrastructure network. Additionally, transportation services play an important role in post-earthquake recovery and are an integral part of most response functions. These services are vital for the initial rescue operations and disaster assistance. In addition, traffic delays that occur during the reconstruction period can be greatly minimized through effective traffic management strategies. The need for vulnerability assessment and disaster mitigation in densely populated areas such as in the NY/NJ metropolitan area is obvious.

In this project, we propose the use of novel remote sensing technologies to quickly assess damage to the transportation infrastructure. Some of the latest remote sensing technologies can detect very small displacements of infrastructure elements such as roads and bridges up to centimeter accuracy. Thus, this information along with historic information about transportation infrastructure components combined with simple yet accurate structural engineering models can be used to determine, individual components of a given network that are susceptible to failure under various loading conditions. This probabilistic failure mapping of the infrastructure can then be used to develop robust transportation and emergency response plans that minimize the risk of disruptions.

It is obvious that the need to establish disaster preparedness plan and post-disaster mitigation resource is urgent. The NY/NJ metropolitan area is one the densely populated corridors in the USA with vital infrastructure facilities that are subject to possible scenarios of cascading events such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and man-made disasters. The information obtained from remote sensing technology is important in providing reliable support for the decision-making system for preparedness and mitigation.

This project was cosponsored by the Research and Innovative Technology Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation through the University Transportation Centers program.