Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices. Topic 50-06. Advances in Unstable Slope Instrumentation and Monitoring

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): (1) How unstable slopes are identified for monitoring with instrumentation (e.g., movement rates, previous slope failures, public notification, established guidelines and procedures); (2) Monitoring technologies and techniques commonly used by DOTs (e.g., type and purpose of instrumentation used, frequency of monitoring); (3) Innovative technologies used or contemplated for big problems or special cases; (4) Advantages, disadvantages, and lessons learned of the technologies used; (5) Source of funding for unstable slope monitoring (e.g., dedicated funding, maintenance program, emergency funding); (6) How instrumentation monitoring services are procured (e.g., in-house, contracted out); (7) How slope monitoring data is used, stored, and managed; and (8) 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.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $45000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-05, Topic 50-06

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Gause, Jo

  • Performing Organizations:

    BGC Engineering

    701 12th Street
    Golden, Colorado  United States  80401
  • Principal Investigators:

    Vessely, Mark

  • Start Date: 20181004
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01668999
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-05, Topic 50-06
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: May 14 2018 3:03PM