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The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 50-06 [Active (Synthesis)]

Advances in Unstable Slope Instrumentation and Monitoring
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 5/1/2018 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Jo Allen Gause
Research Agency: BGC Engineering
Principal Investigator: Mark Vessely
Effective Date: 10/4/2018
Fiscal Year: 2018

Final Scope

Unstable slopes pose a potential threat to public safety and mobility, and increase the cost of maintaining the nation’s highway system. Unstable slopes include fill, cut, and natural slopes in soil or rock that are moving or at risk of moving. Recent advances in geotechnical instrumentation and monitoring technologies have the potential to improve the reliability of our highway systems. Monitoring programs are useful to state departments of transportation (DOTs) in several ways including: providing information on the rate of movement and triggering mechanisms; acting as early warning systems; providing a clearer picture of the risk associated with the monitored sites; and facilitating more informed decision making.

The objective of this synthesis is to document the current state of practice for geotechnical instrumentation and monitoring of unstable slopes. The synthesis will focus on the application of technologies implemented by DOTs in the last decade. Technologies of interest include those used for in-situ instrumentation, remote sensing, warning systems, and data treatment including acquisition, storage, transmission, presentation, and visualization. The synthesis will describe types of technology, not proprietary products.

Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to):
• How unstable slopes are identified for monitoring with instrumentation (e.g., movement rates, previous slope failures, public notification, established guidelines and procedures);
• Monitoring technologies and techniques commonly used by DOTs (e.g., type and purpose of instrumentation used, frequency of monitoring);
• Innovative technologies used or contemplated for big problems or special cases;
• Advantages, disadvantages, and lessons learned of the technologies used;
• Source of funding for unstable slope monitoring (e.g., dedicated funding, maintenance program, emergency funding);
• How instrumentation monitoring services are procured (e.g., in-house, contracted out);
• How slope monitoring data is used, stored, and managed; and
• Visualization and communication methods

Information will be gathered through review of domestic and international literature, survey of state DOTs directed to state geotechnical engineers, and follow-up interviews with selected agencies for the development of case examples. Cased examples will illustrate DOT use and experience with specific technologies. The synthesis will identify knowledge gaps and suggest research to address those gaps.

Information Sources (Partial):
• Proceedings of the 3rd North American Symposium on Landslides, Roanoke, Virginia (2017)
• TRB Special Report 247, Landslides Investigation and Mitigation
• Bonneau, D.A. and Hutchinson, D.J. Applications of Remote Sensing for Characterizing Debris Channel Processes, p. 748-759.
• Cannon, R., Snider, F., Gagnon, J. H., Pate, K., and Ball, A. Use of LiDAR, Laser Scanning, UAV Technology and 3D Geologic Modeling for Landslide and Rockfall Assessments at Boundary Dam, Metaline, Washington, p. 985-994.
• Farina, P., Rossi, G., Tanteri, L., Salvatici, T., Gigli, G., Moretti, S., and Casagli, N. The use of
Multi-Copter Drones for Landslide Investigations, p. 978-984.
• Stumpf, A., Malet, J.-P., Michéa, D., and Allenbach Monitoring Slow-Moving Landslides with
Optical Satellite Image Time-Series: a Service Based on a HPC Platform, p. 882-888.
• Watts, C.F. and Keaton, J.R. Planning and Executing Autonomous UAS Missions for Capturing
and Extracting Geologic Data, p. 91-98.
• Darrow, M.M., and Jensen, D.D. (2012) Evaluation of MEMS-based In-place Inclinometers in
Cold Regions, Alaska University Transportation Center and Alaska Department of
Transportation, FHWA-RD-AK-12-28.
• Dasenbrock, D. (2010) Automated Landslide and Instrumentation Programs on US Route 2,
Proceedings of the University of Minnesota 58th Annual Geotechnical Engineering
Conference, St. Paul, 26 February 2010, pp. 165-185. 

TRB Staff
Jo Allen Gause
Phone: 202-334-3826
Email: jagause@nas.edu

Meeting Dates
First Panel:  October 4, 2018, Washington, DC
Teleconference with Consultant: October 31, 2018, 2:00 p.m., ET
Second Panel: July 8, 2018, Washington, DC

Topic Panel
Darren l. Beckstrand, Landslide Technology
Derrick D. Dasenbrock, Minnesota DOT
Robert Group, Colorado DOT
Kathleen Maguire, Maine DOT
Mohammed Mulla, North Carolina DOT
Soheil Nazarian, University of Texas at El Paso, Center for Transportation Infrastructure Systems
Gustavo Ortega, California DOT
Silas Nichols, Federal Highway Administration
Nancy M. Whiting, Transportation Research Board

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