Seismic Performance of Highway Embankments

Resilient transportation networks are essential component for post-earthquake relief and recovery missions. Large emphasis is placed on roads, highways, and bridges to provide rescue team with access to disastrous areas where essential needs including medical care can be provided to those affected. Currently, the general approach for conducting a consequences based seismic risk assessment (SRA) hinges on assessing the degree at which bridges in the region in question are damaged due to a seismic event. The approach includes selecting a region and a route to be investigated, identifying bridges that exist in the route, evaluating their performance under earthquake loading, assigning a level of functionality of the route based on bridge performance, and finally using a simulated traffic flow for assessing losses. In other words, the current approach solely depends on bridge damage in determining whether or not a particular route can be utilized for post-earthquake relief and recovery missions. Evidence has shown earthquakes to cause large damage and failure of road embankments. As a result of such, both the resiliency and reliability of a particular transportation network is impaired. It is therefore essential to assess the seismic resistance of highway embankments such and integrate the information in a planning for post-earthquake missions. The objective of this study is to develop an approach for assessing the performance of embankments under seismic loads. The project seeks to highlight the various observed failures in highway embankments and the importance of including their behavior in post-earthquake recovery and relief missions. Finite element models of highway embankments will be developed and used to conduct nonlinear dynamic time-history analysis. The result of the analysis will be compared against specific performance levels. A methodology will be proposed for estimating the potential and degree of damage to highway embankments, which can be used by decision makers in determining if a particular route can be utilized for post-earthquake relief and recovery missions.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $92000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Mountain-Plains Consortium

    North Dakota State University
    P.O. Box 6050, Department 2880
    Fargo, ND  United States  58108-6050
  • Project Managers:

    Kline, Robin

  • Performing Organizations:

    Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering

    Colorado State University
    Fort Collins, CO  United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Mahmoud, Hussam

  • Start Date: 20120101
  • Expected Completion Date: 20160630
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program
  • Source Data: MPC-383

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01483283
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Mountain-Plains Consortium
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT12-G-UTC08
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Jun 6 2013 1:02AM