Project snapshot. More details below.
Impact on Practice
INNOVATION IN LOCATING DEEP UTILITIES (R01C)
Two technologies to expand the zone in which underground utilities can be located and identified were developed. Prototype long-range radio frequency ID and low-frequency acoustic location technologies were developed and tested.
Delays and costs of excavation and risks of utility conflicts can be avoided if utilities can be reliably located, even when deep underground, with nondestructive techniques. The technologies in development go beyond the shallow underground utility location technologies and expand the locatable zoom capability needed to find deep utilities.
|The project is complete. Both prototypes require further development to reach commercial readiness. Project reports, including a user’s guide, will be available in late 2013 at www.TRB.org/SHRP2/publications.
Utilities that exist beyond the zone where surface-based methods can locate them present a particularly difficult problem. Utilities are increasingly placed deeper as the near-surface space becomes crowded, and utility construction techniques become more capable. Existing surface–based methods for utility detection become less effective as depths increase. The European Street Works Research Advisory Council (ESWRAC) identified surface-based and below-ground survey techniques as promising areas of innovation. The Mapping The Underworld (MTU) project in the United Kingdom is also evaluating innovative technologies. Project R01-C investigates innovations for locating utilities not detectable by methods being evaluated in project R01-B.
The primary objective of this project is to improve the detection and accurate determination of the positions of buried utilities within an expanded locatable zone up to Quality Level B as defined by CI/ASCE 38-02, the Standard Guidelines for the Collection and Depiction of Existing Subsurface Utility Data, using any appropriate methods without duplicating the scope of project R01-B. This objective may be accomplished by combining existing methods or developing new technologies. This project will alsodevelopguidance that transportation agencies may use to include the developed innovative methods into their “Utility Accommodation Manual” and also can assist utility owners by expanding the locatable zone and improving detectability of future utility installations.
The innovations to be examined should include, but not be limited to, alternative or novel surface-based approaches, in-line survey or signal emitters deployed from inside an existing utility, and modifications to existing tools.
Task descriptions are intended to provide a framework for conducting the research. SHRP 2 is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objectives. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers' current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach for meeting the research objectives.
Task 1: Review of Current and Emerging Practices
Conduct a review of the performance and limitations of current and emerging practices and technologies. This review shall include nondestructive methods used in other industries (both foreign and domestic). It will also include a quantitative assessment of the dimensional range of locatable zones, including trade-offs among distance, resolution, precision, and operational/equipment costs for various site and ground conditions, nearby utilities, and utility types, materials, and sizes.
The review must include current and evolving utility tagging/tracing practices. The factors to be considered for utility tagging/tracing practices include: maximum burial depth of the device, proposed system for long-term use/replacement of device/tracer, energy provision for active devices, data storage and update capabilities, data security, anticipated cost of the tags/tracers in commercial production, environmental restrictions, and method of attachment/association with the pipe or utility. Examples of tagging/tracing practices are transponders, RFID, locatable plastic pipes, and trace wires.
Task 2: Plan for Innovations to Improve Extent of Locatable Zone
Synthesize the findings of Task 1 and identify and prioritize opportunities for improvement of existing and development of new technologies. Prepare a detailed plan of the proposed innovative device(s)/process(es)/method(s) containing the desired performance capabilities, testing procedures, field testing program (data acquisition, processing, and analysis), and development and evaluation milestones. The plan should document the rationale behind the ranking of the proposed innovation(s) and describe quantitatively the activities required to evaluate each innovation. Cycles of innovation refinement and testing should also be identified.
This plan should include relevant information from other underground utility mapping research projects, and how this project will be coordinated with SHRP 2 projects R01-A and R01-B.
Task 3: Phase I Report
Prepare a Phase I report that documents the results of Task 1 Review and Task 2 Plan. The Phase I report shall also include a detailed test plan for the laboratory and field testing to be undertaken in Task 5.This report will be due within five (5) months of the contract award.
Acceptance and approval of the Phase I report along with the selection of the innovation(s) to be further evaluated is a requirement before proceeding to Phase II.
Phase II – Innovation Development and Field Evaluation
Task 4: Innovation Prototype
Develop a prototype suitable for proof-of-concept testing. This task will include development andcontrolled testing of the detection capabilities of the selected innovation(s). As part of the development and test process, the raw signals emitted from and received by the prototype must be recorded and provided in addition to the results after signal processing and interpretation. Depending on the type(s) of selected innovation(s), physical demonstration of the system capabilities may be appropriate. It is desirable for innovation(s) to share similar operating characteristics with common commercial system in terms of size and power of key components. Develop a users’ manual for the prototype.
Task 5: Testing
Conduct proof-of-concept testing in the laboratory and field. This task will compile data on the detection effectiveness of the innovation(s), the time for deployment, associated equipment, operational and equipment costs, interpretation effort, etc. Precision and accuracy of the innovation(s) shall be quantified and compared to the desired performance capabilities defined in Task 2. Testing and refinement cycles of the innovation(s) are strongly encouraged. Update the users’ manual as necessary.
Task 6: Guidance for Transportation Agencies/Utility Owners
Guidance shall be developed that is suitable for use by transportation agencies to incorporate the use of the developed innovative methods into their “Utility Accommodation Manual” and by utility owners for expanding the locatable zone and improving the detectability of future installations, including the marking of existing utilities when exposed. This guidance document shall be submitted as a succinct section of the final project report. It will be in a form suitable for future distribution as an independent standalone report.
Task 7: Final report
Prepare a Final report. The final report should include results from Tasks 1-6. Recommendations regarding further development/refinements of the innovation(s) will be included along with the updated prototype users’ manual.