Improve highway safety by reducing the risks of landslides

Geologic hazards including slope failures, landslides, mudflows, debris flows, etc. and hydrological hazards related to floods and stormwater surge can be destructive to transportation infrastructure and threaten property and human life along the highway and roads. Landslides alone cause thousands of deaths and many billions of dollars in damage every year. Morgan State University (MSU) team proposes a multi-phase (multi-year) project focusing on safety of transportation infrastructure systems by preventing geohazard, specifically slope failure and landslides and minimizing impacts of geohazard. This project will employ an integrated approach of geotechnical and Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML) methods for assessing conditions of geotechnical assets, such as cut slopes and embankment of the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) and delineating landslides and high-risk areas. The objectives (tasks) of the proposal include: (1) with AI/Machine Learning approaches assess the risks of landslides based on soil/rock types, weather conditions, mechanical properties of slope materials, and the status of existing retaining structures along the selected highway sections, using Maryland as case studies, (2) identify and map the high-risk areas based on controlling factors such as geometry and mechanical properties of soil or rock, and triggering factors, including gravitational and hydraulic forces, using available survey data, remote sensing and LIDAR data and and other factors like transportation modes, (3) design and test protocols for real time monitoring at selected sites in consultation with MDOT SHA staff, and (4) recommend strategies for reducing the risks of landslides with real-time monitoring for the high-risk areas, and improving the safety of the transportation infrastructure. All the methods and strategies can be transferred to other states or regions with similar geological conditions and engineering configurations. Phase 1 of this project will primarily cover task 1 and part of task 2. This project will primarily complement ongoing projects sponsored by the MDOT SHA (see more information in TRID) led by Zhuping Sheng. Dr. Jiang Li has experience in both transportation research and environmental hazards. The former focuses on the mechanical behavior of road subgrades and the latter addresses the geological or hydrological hazards that may adversely affect the regional transportation infrastructure and traffic safety. As principal investigator (PI) Dr. Li will coordinate the efforts in collaboration with MDOT SHA and advise other faculty and postdoctoral research associates and graduate students to carry out the project. The team includes Co-PIs, Zhuping Sheng, Oludare Owolabi and Yi Liu who are currently conducting research supported by MDOT SHA, which provides a strong foundation for future collaboration with the partner MDOT SHA and others for technical transfer. This program includes a summer internship program with two students and one graduate team for development of future workforce in transportation safety in cooperation with MSU AI/ML program led by Dr. Owolabi. Students will also participate in exchange programs and deployment partners symposium and other activities. Through this project the MSU team is expected to expand collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and other partner institutes via faculty meetings, seminars, national summit, and other venues, which provides great opportunity for professional development.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $600000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Carnegie Mellon University

    Safety21 National UTC for Promoting Safety
    Pittsburgh, PA  United States  15213

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Center Program
  • Managing Organizations:

    Carnegie Mellon University

    Safety21 National UTC for Promoting Safety
    Pittsburgh, PA  United States  15213
  • Project Managers:

    Stearns, Amy

  • Performing Organizations:

    Morgan State University

  • Principal Investigators:

    Sheng, Zhuping

  • Start Date: 20230701
  • Expected Completion Date: 20240630
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01900237
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Safety21
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3552344811
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Nov 20 2023 8:00PM