The provision of transport and other service infrastructure is a priority of governments worldwide and is of critical importance to future prosperity. Indeed, to reduce traffic congestion, improve freight logistics and accommodate a rapidly growing population, it is predicted that hundreds of billions of dollars will spent over the next decade on rejuvenating ageing transport infrastructure in Australia alone. Due to the massive investment involved in constructing roads, railways, tunnels, ports and pipelines, even small percentage savings resulting from scientific research give large returns in absolute dollar terms. Research conducted in the PRCGSE is providing engineers with new science-based tools for tackling these infrastructure problems, with a strong focus on the delivery of new procedures and software for quantifying risk, providing cost-effective design solutions, managing risk during construction, extending the life of ageing infrastructure, and maximizing the use of sustainable construction materials.

Find out more about some of the current projects related to this theme:

Unsaturated Soils Mechanics and Reactive Clays

The aim of this research is to provide new knowledge on the behaviour of unsaturated soils and reactive clays. Advanced laboratory and field testing on soils are complemented by microstructural investigations in order to correlate macroscale observations to soil structure.

Rock Mechanics

Read about hydromechanics of rock matrix, rock masses and rock discontinuities.

Soft Soil Engineering

This project provides detail on the project delivery methods adopted on the Pacific Highway upgrade as well as site characterisation, the Ballina Field Test Facilty and the Embankment Prediction Sympoisum.

Pipelines Crossing Geotechnically Challenging Environments

This project provides detail on physical and numerical modelling techniques employed by researchers at the PRCGSE to improve analysis and design methods for pipelines on geographically challenging areas susceptible to ground movement.

Ground Improvement for Infrastructure on Problematic Soils

Read about the PRCGSE's current research on ground improvement methods for soft problematic soils.

Failure of Soil and Rock Masses from Small to Large Scale

Read about research activities at the PRCGSE, spanning from reduced scale to full scale, to observe and better understand soil and rock failure with the aim to transform design practice.

Rockfall Analysis

Read about the PRCGSE's experimental testing on rock fall trajectories, rockfall in the mining environment as well as rock fall barrier testing.

Risk Assessment in Geotechnical Engineering

The PRCGSE has developed probabilistic methods, where risk is explicitly quantified, enabling practicing engineers to better quantify uncertainty, ultimately resulting in decreased project construction costs.