USE-iT - users, safety, security and energy in transport infrastructure
FOX - Forever Open infrastructure across all transport modes

WP4 - Inspection (ZAG)

The overall objective of WP4 ‘Inspection’ is to increase the use of new inspection methods for existing and new infrastructure. This is achieved through:

  • Exploring the state-of-art in inspection methods across the transport modes. Identify existing successful examples of practices and projects related to infrastructure inspection, testing, monitoring and covering the needs of at least two transport modes.
  • Identifying promising opportunities, knowledge and practices from different transport modes. This will help to develop roadmaps for future initiatives on cross-modal research of new inspection methods.
  • Identifying future common cross-modal research needs in the field of infrastructure inspection, testing and monitoring.

Such an approach across modes will contribute towards enabling the integrated future transport system, and add value to the mode-specific R&I strategies, agenda’s and roadmaps, while strengthening the culture of partnerships among operators of the single transport modes.

Engaging with stakeholders to advice on the establishment of an “Intermodal Inspection Working Group”.

The key to improving capacity and the availability of the existing transport infrastructure network is to minimise transport disruption caused not only by construction and maintenance works, but also from inspection activities. In recent years, pavement investigation systems have been developed that enable condition surveys to be taken at traffic speed, and hence keep the road open. Further research would be undertaken on the wider implementation and further development of structural condition surveys at traffic speed, which would include within-structure monitoring and robotised techniques.

For high-quality, fast and non-destructive surveying, inspection and testing, much is expected to be achieved by technology capture across the transport modes and from other sectors. The application of solutions should be seamless across the assets and modes. The key technologies towards this aim include nano-electronics and sensors, electro-optics and advanced processing. An example of a prominent solution is the assessment of surface condition based on advanced optical devices and image processing, which can be employed on roads, tunnels, airport areas and on rail tracks as well.

Particular attention is given to self-monitoring and self-reporting capabilities of the infrastructure through the increasing use of ICT, as well as the delivery of performance indicators in asset management systems.

If the future infrastructures are constructed with built-in sensors that allow the remote monitoring of performance, such data could be complemented with data from remote sensing and in-car data or train data. Combined they would inform network managers and operators about the behaviour of the infrastructure, as well as inform designers how to improve the next generation of infrastructure.

Traditional manual inspection methods can miss upwards of 96% of the FOD (Foreign Object Debris) present on airport surfaces due to its small size, location, and the practical limitations at highway speeds. Significant advances in high speed 3D-imaging technology have been made in the last decade.

Waterborne operations are dependent on effective corrosion protection thus corrosion free materials and components need to be considered in construction. On the other hand, inspection will need to be routinely carried out underwater by specially developed remotely operated vessels (ROV). 

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