Amid restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the region, researchers at the Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation have still been able to conduct important work and take on new challenges in transportation—highlighted by recent media coverage and virtual events.

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Faculty Research 

CAIT-affiliated researchers have created a miniature device for measuring trace levels of toxic lead in sediments at the bottom of harbors, rivers and other waterways within minutes – far faster than currently available laboratory-based tests, which take days.

The research focused on analyzing lead in sediment samples.  Many river sediments in New Jersey and nationwide are contaminated by industrial and other waste dumped decades ago. Proper management of contaminated dredged materials from navigational channels is important to limit potential impacts on wildlife, agriculture, plants and food supplies. Quick identification of contaminated areas could enable timely and cost-effective programs to manage dredged materials.

This project was done in collaboration with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Rutgers’ Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT). It was funded by CAIT, the USDOT-University Transportation Research Center–Region II.

Read the full story here and stay tuned for more on CAIT’s role in this developing technology.

Tracking and Recovering from COVID-19 

Alongside tracking the economic impacts of COVID-19 on New Jersey’s economy through the ongoing Fast Track Research Notes series, CAIT-affiliated researcher Dr. James W. Hughes is also a member of NJ Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin’s Economic Advisory Council addressing the virus.

Formed to help advise Assembly Leadership on recovery from COVID-19, the council recently released a new report of recommendations they found worthy of consideration by the state, covering everything from potentially lowering the New Jersey’s sales tax to streamlining infrastructure projects. As a part of the council, Dr. Hughes represents academia in the state.

Read media coverage here and follow the links to see the full report.

CAIT Seminar Series

On August 24th from 3-4 pm, the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) hosted Mark Vessely, P.E., principal engineer with BGC Engineering for a presentation on geotechnical asset management. Watch the webinar here.

Retaining walls, embankments, slopes, and subgrades are types of geotechnical assets that can adversely influence the performance of transportation and other infrastructure systems, particularly with increasing age as deterioration and the consequences from deferred maintenance are realized. Implementing asset management practices for these assets enables an owner to measure risk and manage the whole life of the asset in consideration of performance expectations, risk tolerance and at the lowest life-cycle cost.

This webinar introduced the concepts of asset management for retaining walls, slopes, embankments, and subgrades and an example workflow and tools for starting asset management. The asset management processes and tools were developed as part of the Transportation Research Board study that resulted in NCHRP Research Report 903, released in May 2019. Within this study, a synthesis of U.S. and international practices was conducted as well as case study interviews with state transportation departments, pipeline operators, and Highways and Railways in the U.K. to understand barriers to starting and other implementation frameworks.