New Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) funding seeks to ready UBC Okanagan’s SALMALIS lab to develop new technologies to improve road design and maintenance in Canada
With one of the world’s largest road networks, Canada is home to over a million kilometres of roadways that connect Canadians and power its economy. The complexity of the country’s geography and climate make safeguarding and innovating these networks paramount to Canada’s prosperity.
The Smart Analytics Lab for Modelling Advanced and Livable Infrastructure Systems (SALMALIS) at UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering is led by civil engineering assistant professor Suliman Gargoum. Gargoum’s research focuses on the use of smart sensing technology for advanced road safety analytics and informed design and management of transportation infrastructure.
“The support from CFI will provide us with state-of-the-art tools to develop novel design charts and procedures for quantitative assessment and integration of reliability and resilience into road design,” explains Gargoum. “These tools will allow us to analyze, simulate and pioneer innovations that will ensure Canada’s road networks continue to meet the needs of Canadians.”
Research at the SALMALIS lab develops AI algorithms that analyze and assess highway features that impact reliability and resiliency such as slopes and roadside feature. The new tools will enable researchers to capture 3D data which will then be used to simulate road users and traffic under a number of variables including weather information.
“Our research team will be able to perform network-level spatial analysis of road design vulnerability,” said Gargoum. “This will help identify quickly and accurately specific areas that require upgrades or replacement — a first in Canada.”
The funding from the CFI John R. Evans Leadership Fund (JELF) will go towards the procurement of a high-resolution Mobile Laser Scanning System that includes a Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensor and camera.
In addition, Dr. Gargoum’s lab also received support from the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF) to investigate approaches to reduce costs in maintaining and improving a safe and resilient transportation network and infrastructure in British Columbia.