Our aims are to understand materials, particularly clay fills, and system behaviour — the soil-water-vegetation system of a single slope (scale 1) and the systems of slopes (scale 2) that make up a transport network (scale 3) — under current and future forecasted weather event sequences, and to be able to integrate the understanding across these three scales (see Figures 1 and 2).
In particular we emphasise and analyse the differences in cyclic material behaviour resulting from wetting/drying in clay soils/fills, the impact of vegetation type and coverage and the influence of the large regional variations in geology and climate and how the climate will change.
Our aim is also, through collaboration with the key asset owners, to use this scientific understanding to inform advanced inspection, monitoring, maintenance and repair regimes. Furthermore, the legacy of this project will be a co-ordinated community of researchers and stakeholders equipped with a virtual research centre (field sites, advanced models, datasets) to continue to meet the challenges of providing sustainable infrastructure. This requires an integrated approach.