Aging infrastructure is a growing problem and point of emphasis in the United States and across the globe. There is a need to assess and monitor the current state of different types of civil infrastructure: roads, bridges, dams, levees, pipelines, airports, railroads, tunnels, etc., in addition to gaining a better understanding of complex subsurface settings during the design process. We depend on our infrastructure to meet civil transportation needs, for water supply and transport, for power generation, and for safety from natural hazards, to name just a few needs. With millions of miles of vital infrastructure crisscrossing both rural and populated areas around the world, how can we reasonably investigate such a large and complex system in a practical manner that both produces useful engineering data and is relatively cost efficient? Near-surface geophysical methods have the potential to aid in engineering design and assessment by providing continuous sampling along a line or across an area, as opposed to conventional point measurements from sparse geotechnical borings, cone penetrometer tests, or similar types of measurements. As technology continues to advance, how can we take advantage of new capabilities to assess existing structures and aid new construction to better enable the decision-making process throughout the infrastructure life cycle? Geophysics is not the answer, but it can be part of the toolbox of solutions.
Research Article|October 01, 2018
Introduction to this special section: Infrastructure assessment
The Leading Edge (2018) 37 (10): 722.