A RAI of Data: Generalizing the Data-driven Rockfall Activity Index (RAI) based on Long-term Observations of Well Characterized Slopes

The ultimate purpose of this new research is to improve and refine both the accuracy, and interpretation of the Rockfall Activity Index (RAI) analysis to promote its wider adoption by transportation authorities and consulting engineers in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) and across the nation. The research team believes that accomplishing this goal will place the RAI amongst PacTrans’ highest impact applied research products. Based on numerous discussions and consultations with practitioners over the past two years (including several members of TRB’s rockfall subcommittee), the research team believes that improving the accuracy of hotspot mapping will lead to more widespread adoption of the RAI by practitioners in the PNW and other parts of the country. Accordingly, in this project, the research team proposes improving the hotspot forecasting by developing a systematic procedure for selecting activity rates that directly account for local geology (e.g., rock type, tectonic setting), rock conditions (e.g., weathering grade), and climate conditions. Not only will this significantly improve the accuracy of the RAI forecasting, but it will also make the system generalizable to a more comprehensive range of rock slope settings in the U.S. and abroad. To accomplish these goals, the research team will develop a new procedure to estimate the RAI activity rate based on in situ rock strength testing with a Schmidt Hammer and assessing yearly weather conditions. The team will develop their activity rate assessment procedure using data from a series of approximately 20 thoroughly characterized test sites across a range of geologic and climate settings in Alaska and Oregon. The team previously developed high-resolution, multi-year change detection data for each of these sites, which are among the best-documented rock slopes in the United States.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $360000
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium

      University of Washington
      More Hall Room 112
      Seattle, WA  United States  98195-2700

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Managing Organizations:

      University of Alaska, Fairbanks

      Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
      P.O. Box 755900
      Fairbanks, AK  United States  99775-5900
    • Project Managers:

      Darrow, Margaret

    • Performing Organizations:

      University of Alaska, Fairbanks

      Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
      P.O. Box 755900
      Fairbanks, AK  United States  99775-5900

      University of Washington, Seattle

      Civil and Environmental Engineering Department
      201 More Hall, Box 352700
      Seattle, WA  United States  98195-2700

      Oregon State University, Corvallis

      Department of Civil Engineering
      202 Apperson Hall
      Corvallis, OR  United States  97331-2302
    • Principal Investigators:

      Darrow, Margaret

      Wartman, Joseph

      Olsen, Michael

      Leshchinsky, Ben

    • Start Date: 20220316
    • Expected Completion Date: 20230630
    • Actual Completion Date: 0
    • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01872466
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium
    • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747110
    • Files: UTC, RIP
    • Created Date: Feb 3 2023 9:46AM