Sustainable Highway Construction Practices

SPONSOR:  UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON

PI:  Amlan Mukherjee

Subrecipient will perform the following scope of work:  Assist in the literature review, write and conduct an online survey of industry, help plan and participate in an industry workshop, conduct industry interviews, and help write and review reports.

Specifically, this work involves:

Task 1: Literature Review. Assist in the literature review.
Task 2: Gather Information.
Task 3: Summarize/identify gaps. Review written summary by UW.
Task 4: Prepare draft outline. Review draft outline of proposed Guidebook.

Task 5: Prepare interim report. Assist in drafting and reviewing interim report.
Task 6: Identify research agenda. Write the first draft of the research.

Task 7: Prepare final Guidebook. Assist in drafting and reviewing Guidebook.

Task 8: Present results. Review presentation developed by UW.

Task 9: Implementation memo. Review memo drafted by UW.

Task 10: Final report and PPT. Assist in drafting and review final report and

PPT presentation.

 

Amlan Mukherjee
Amlan Mukherjee

 

 

 

Monitoring Hazard to Critical Infrastructure from Increased Seismic Activity in or near Injection Wells

SPONSOR:  MICHIGAN SPACE GRANT CONSORTIUM

PI:  Thomas Oommen

The recent earthquakes in or near active injection wells in Youngstown, Ohio (Mw 3.9, 2011), Raton Basin, Colorado (Mw 5.3, 2011), and Prague, Oklahoma (Mw 5.6, 2011) have alerted the scientific community to the possibility that these earthquakes are caused by human activity. Although studies have not unequivocally established the human influence on this, it is evident that there is an increase in seismic activity near some injection wells and perhaps in some hydraulic fracturing operations.

This increase in seismic activity raises a significant question: How does this seismic activity affect the critical infrastructure ( dams, highways, railways, pipelines, and others) in its vicinity? The objective of this proposal is to do a prelimina,y study on the applicability of satellite based high resolution optical imaging and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) to evaluate the effects of induced seismic events on the integrity of critical infrastructure in the vicinity of injection wells.

Thomas Oommen
Thomas Oommen

Sustainable Geotechnical Asset Management along the Transportation Infrastructure Environment using Remote Sensing

Sponsor: US Department of Transportation

PI: Thomas Oommen

The objective of this study is to establish a sustainable framework for Geotechnical Asset Management (GAM) using remote sensing data that can be used by the state departments of transportation across the US in order to identify and mitigate the failure of geotechnical assets proactively along the transportation infrastructure environment. Developing a sustainable GAM to enable more proactive infrastructure risk assessment is critical for strategic investment and long term management of the United State’s transportation infrastructure.

Remote sensing techniques, such as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) provide great opportunities to measure ground movements precisely. Additionally, high resolution optical images complement observations from InSAR and LiDAR. Applying these techniques to the transportation environment can help to monitor and manage the stability of the geotechnical assets and would significantly reduce the level of effort currently needed to survey and inspect these assets.

A copy of this report can be found on the National Transportation Library website.

Thomas Oommen
Thomas Oommen

Carbon Footprint for HMA and PCC Pavements

Sponsor: Michigan Department of Transportation

PI: Amlan Mukherjee

Motivated by the need to address challenges of global climate change, this study develops and implements a project based life cycle framework that can be used to estimate the carbon footprint for typical construction work-items found in reconstruction, rehabilitation and Capital Preventive Maintenance (CPM) projects. The framework builds on existing life cycle assessment methods and inventories. The proposed framework considers the life cycle emissions of products and processes involved in the raw material acquisition and manufacturing phase, and the pavement construction phase. It also accounts for emissions due to vehicular use and maintenance operations during the service life of the pavements. The framework also develops and implements a method to calculate project level construction emission metrics. Finally, the research provides a web-based tool, the Project Emission Estimator (PE- 2) that can be used to benchmark the CO2 footprint of highway construction projects. In conclusion, the research suggests ways of implementing the proposed framework within MDOT to help reduce the CO2 footprint of highway construction projects.

Amlan Mukherjee
Amlan Mukherjee

Remote Sensing Measurements for the E-100a Longitudinal Emission Pilot Study

Sponsor: Coordinating Research Council

PI: Claudio Mazzoleni

Gases and aerosols emitted by vehicles have potential effects on human health, plants and animals, air quality, artistic and historic buildings, visibility and climate. Uncertainties in the pollutants emitted by vehicles stem from many complicating and confounding factors including for example, but not limited to: a) wide variety of vehicle and engine types; b) vehicle use and maintenance; c) vehicle operating conditions; d) vehicle age; e) fuel type and quality; f) owners’ driving habits; g) weather conditions; h) road conditions; i) enforcements of inspection and maintenance (I/M) programs or other emission control programs.

Due to the large number of parameters and the wide variability for each, it is very challenging to obtain a representative and statistically relevant sample of vehicle emission measurements. To make the task even more formidable, the emission distribution across the vehicle fleet is often strongly skewed, making a few, hard-to-find vehicles responsible for the largest fraction of the total on-road fleet exhaust emissions.  The emission distribution skewness has been show to be especially severe for carbon monoxide and PM emissions – often 10% of vehicles contribute more than 70% of the total fleet emissions for passenger cars. Therefore, normal statistical approaches are ineffective and inaccurate. To provide a correct picture of the impact of a vehicle fleet and to stratify emissions by different confounding variables, a measurement method must accurately capture the tail of the emission distribution. Among the many techniques available for the vehicle emission measurement, remote sensing presents a unique set of advantages. First, remote sensing offers the possibility to collect data for thousands of vehicles at a reasonable cost with realistic time and human investments. Second, remote sensing is the only currently available technique that can collect data representative of a large and realistic ensemble of individual vehicles, at the same time maintaining the specificity of “single vehicle” emission measurements.

Final Report:  E100a_Pilot_Study_23Aug2011_Final

Claudio Mazzoleni
Claudio Mazzoleni

 

Using the Wet-Blade to Control Invasive Species along Roadway Corridors

Sponsor: Minnesota Department of Transportation

PI: Catherine S. Tarasoff

Experiments were conducted to test the feasibility of using the Diamond Wet-Blade mower along roadside right-of-ways. The research conducted compared Canada thistle control, herbicide drift, and operational costs of the Wet-Blade versus broadcast spray application using the herbicide aminopyralid. It was determined that there were no differences between the Wet-Blade and broadcast spraying in terms of Canada thistle control. Herbicide treatments conducted in the spring using at least 88 g/ha aminopyralid provided greater than 70% control that lasted for two years after treatment. Broadcast spraying produced detectable drift up to 3 m into non-target areas while the Wet-Blade had negligible drift. Operation of the Wet-Blade is approximately 2 times the cost of broadcast application.

Read the full report:
Using the Wet-Blade to Control Invasive Species along Roadway Corridors

 

Exploratory Investigation of Thermally-Induced Water Flow in Soils

SPONSOR:  NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION (NSF)

PI:  Zhen Liu

This project aims to answer a very fundamental yet very old scientific question: “Why and how does water move due to temperature gradients in porous materials?” This thermally induced water flux ubiquitously exists in porous materials, whenever both heat transfer and water movement are present. A scientific understanding of this phenomenon is an essential base for many important scientific and social challenges: climate effects on geomaterials, geothermal energy applications, behavior of porous materials under extreme conditions, and recovery of non-conventional fossil fuels such as gas hydrates and shale gas. However, despite the significance, this phenomenon has been an historically unsolved and perplexing issue affecting many science and engineering areas involving porous materials from traditional applications in civil engineering, soil science and petroleum engineering to emerging needs in microfluidics, material processing and biomechanics.

This award supports the exploration of a new research concept/methodology and its application to reveal the physical mechanisms underlying thermally induced water flux for a complete scientific description and analysis framework for this phenomenon. As an exploratory study, which pioneers a very high-risk but possibly high-return concept, the success of the study may provide the geotechnical community a new understanding to tackle many issues which are hard to solve in the existing frameworks, and also provide a way to integrate porous material research which is currently distributed in various disciplines. In addition to supporting a doctoral student, the project will support outreach activities for rural, low-socioeconomic students and native tribal communities in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. An annual summer program will be established to engage K-12 students in hands-on-learning for understanding of porous materials.

Zhen Liu
Zhen Liu

 

Sustainable Geotechnical Asset Management along the Transportation Infrastructure Environment Using Remote Sensing

Sponsor:  USDOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA)

PI:  Thomas Oommen

The objective of this proposed study is to establish a sustainable framework for Geotechnical Asset Management (GAM) using remote sensing data that can be used by the state departments of transportation across the US in order to identify and mitigate the failure of geotechnical assets proactively along the transportation infrastructure environment. Developing a sustainable GAM to enable more proactive infrastructure risk assessment is critical for strategic investment and long term management of the United State’s transportation infrastructure. Remote sensing techniques, such as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) provide great opportunities to measure ground movements precisely. Additionally, high resolution optical images complement observations from InSAR and LiDAR. Applying these techniques to the transportation environment can help to monitor and manage the stability of the geotechnical assets and would significantly reduce the level of effort currently needed to survey and inspect these assets.

Thomas Oommen
Thomas Oommen
Colin N. Brooks
Colin N. Brooks
Pasi Lautala
Pasi Lautala
Stan Vitton
Stan Vitton