4 | Fall 2018 |
Rising Above T
his summer the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering utilized its expertise in transportation infrastructure to develop a new research consortium to address challenges faced by industry and government agencies. IRISE – The Center for Impactful Resilient Infrastructure Science and Engineering – will engage in a public-private collaboration, while employing a systems approach toward optimizing infrastructure solutions. “Americans have daily reminders of the decline of our infrastructure… potholes, traffic delays, bridge closures…this list goes on” noted Julie Vandenbossche, Associate Professor. “This is a problem we cannot buy our way out of. Innovative materials and engineering solutions will be required that are centered around a more sustainable, holistic approach to not only rebuild, but to minimize future disruptions.” According to Vandenbossche, IRISE research will be focused in part on producing solutions that lead to more durable, longer lasting transportation infrastructure. In particular, solutions will be driven by: • Providing safe, efficient and affordable transportation. • Maintaining accessibility to services, such as healthcare, at all times. • Meeting quality of life needs when planning projects. Improving roadway infrastructure durability should have a minimal cost to environmental health and quality of life. To meet these goals, research will focus on knowledge, decision making, material durability and structural repair. Each of these areas
will be advanced from both an individual domain (i.e., pavements and bridges) and an overall infrastructure system perspective. These four areas include identifying and gathering information critical to the decision making process; accurately assessing the condition of the infrastructure system through an integrated system analysis of the data collected for each individual domain, as well as an analysis of the user costs and benefits associated with deteriorating infrastructure and rehabilitation projects; and identifying innovative construction materials and design and construction methods that will produce a more viable infrastructure system. IRISE will develop innovative solutions for addressing the declining transportation infrastructure through a cooperative research program that brings together owners, designers, material suppliers, and constructors of these projects. IRISE is unique in that it will be supported by both public and private organizations to help assure the research topics are relevant and the resulting innovative solutions are implementable. “Our outstanding civil engineering faculty will be collaborating with other faculty from the Swanson School as well as the Graduate School of Public Health and the School of Computing and Information in providing implementable solutions to these complex problems,” Dr. Vandenbossche said. “As our consortium grows and we identify more issues from the public and private sectors, we have the ability to call upon experts from several disciplines across the university as well as around the country.” For more information, visit engineering.pitt.edu/irise.