Graduate students and professors from across the United States convened in Alexandria for the 11th annual AISIM Symposium.

Highways and byways

Students and researchers discuss nation's critical infrastructure needs


10:56 a.m., June 1, 2015--Researchers and professionals from the 12 local and international universities presented their research work at the 11th annual Inter-University Symposium on Infrastructure Management (AISIM) on May 21-22.

The two-day event was hosted by the University of Delaware at the Westin Hotel in Alexandria, Virginia. 

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According to Offei Adarkwa, UD doctoral candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and this year's AISIM organizing committee chair, the goal of the symposium is to advance the infrastructure management body of knowledge by providing a forum for information exchange about ongoing research and for professional development and networking.

“The importance of managing infrastructure assets is essential to retain the value of the initial investment and ensure safety for users,” Adarkwa said. “Engineers around the world are developing innovative and cost-effective solutions to manage infrastructure.”

He continued, “In the years since its inception, AISIM has carved out a critical role in infrastructure management education. It has been an avenue for students to network with their peers and has also provided opportunities for students to interact with global infrastructure management leaders.”

In her keynote address, Janet Kavinoky, director of transportation and infrastructure policy and government relations for the United States Chamber of Commerce, talked about the need for long-term sustainable investment in the nation’s infrastructure as an opportunity to yield substantial social and business benefits.

The symposium featured a workshop with representatives of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Government Relations and Infrastructure Initiatives who discussed how to successfully advocate for transportation policy changes on the local, state and national levels. The symposium also included research presentations and networking opportunities. 

Six graduate students from UD’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering presented their research.

Rachel Chiquoine, second year master's student specializing in transportation engineering, presented her work on analyzing pavement condition data collection methods for the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT). Currently, there is a problem in accuracy, reproduciblity and repeatability of acquiring pavement condition data. She proposed redesigning management tools and performing quality control of acquired data.

Offei Adarkwa, fourth year doctoral student specializing in transportation engineering, presented his research of application of multiway data analysis in civil infrastructure systems. He pointed out civil infrastructure systems have multidimensional structure and should not be strictly analyzed using traditional methods. He demonstrated advantages of using multiway analysis when analyzing complex datasets such as National Bridge Inventory (NBI).

Hadi Al-khateeb, third year doctoral student specializing in bridge engineering, showcased his work on investigating new evaluation methods for bridge load ratings incorporating structural health monitoring data from bridge sensors. His research indicates thermal effects on long-span bridges could result in severely underestimated bridge load ratings and, subsequently, the safety of bridges based on structural health monitoring data.

Silvia Galvan Nunez, second year doctoral student with a focus on transportation engineering, presented new methodologies for assessment of rail degradation. She introduced Monte Carlo Markov Chain (MCMC) methods to accurately predict defect rates of the rail. The results showed that MCMC has advantage in evaluating rail life compared to traditional analysis.

Emmanuel Nii Martey, first year graduate student also specializing in transportation engineering, highlighted his work on the safety of railroad tank cars. He used Bayesian analysis approach to model probability of failure of safety features in railroad tank cars.

Matija Radovic, third year doctoral student specializing in bridge engineering, and Adrakwa presented their work on ways to improve bridge inspection using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Their research focused on acquiring videos of bridge elements and reconstructing these images into 3D objects. This promising technology has potential to drastically reduce the cost of bridge inspection and significantly increase accuracy of bridge ratings. Radovic and Adarkwa, who founded Civil Data Analytics, both have a keen interest in innovative infrastructure finance.

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