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DIGItal and BIOpolymer assisted RAILway embankment reinforcement

Project description

Keeping embankments on track for safer railways

Revitalising the railways is a key goal of the EU’s transport policy. This is why it’s important to keep them on track with network modernisation. This includes the embankments, which allow railway lines to pass over low-lying ground. Since embankments are exposed to a large number of load applications during their service life, it’s important to ensure their safety. The EU-funded DIGI-BIO-RAIL project is improving the ability to predict and repair damaged railway earthwork in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner. Its aim is to ensure a safer, more reliable, sustainable and resilient railway earthwork infrastructure. The project will develop a toolkit and platform to facilitate the integration of resilience-improving forecasting. Specifically, it will study the performance of biopolymer-reinforced railway earthworks.


Railway embankments are at the risk of serious deformation caused either by the dynamic loads from moving vehicles, geohazards or both, and as such pose a threat to not only safety, but comfortable rail operations. Given that Europe cannot always be building its way out of ageing railway infrastructure, it must therefore retrofit and complement existing assets with new technologies. Moreover, the ability to predict and repair damaged railway earthwork in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner to ensure a safer, more reliable, efficient, sustainable and resilient railway earthwork infrastructure offers a great value not just to transport network operators but also to utilities, insurance companies and government agencies. Therefore, this fellowship improves the resiliency of railway earthwork infrastructure and mitigates potential economic, life, and property losses resulting from failure to apply a systematic approach. A toolkit and platform to enable the integration of resiliency-improving forecasting will be developed by combining traditional laboratory and field studies, data mining, machine learning, uncertainty quantification and reliability-based design so to utilize the data to its full potential, and an ecofriendly reinforcement control by using biopolymer for railway embankment deformation. This project will address critical gaps remaining in our understanding of the life cycle performance of biopolymer-reinforced railway earthworks related to material synthesis, degradation, repair as well as the interaction with the soil ecosystem through integrated geochemical and geotechnical experiments and numerical modeling.


Net EU contribution
€ 337 400,64
United Kingdom

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West Midlands (England) West Midlands Coventry
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 337 400,64