Publication Date: 07 August, 2014
Earth Institute member Professor Eugene O'Brien won the TRA Visions: EU Champions of Transport Research competition in the cross-modal category. The EU Champions of Transport Research is a competition for senior researchers in the field of innovative surface transport concepts based on results only from EU-funded projects.
Over the course of several EU funded projects, Professor O'Brien's research has resulted in infrastructures that have been made more sustainable by extending their lives through the quantification of risks, especially the risk of bridges being overloaded. This research has developed road pavement and railway track deterioration models that can be used to predict the remaining service life of these infrastructures.
In Ireland, Eugene’s work on Weigh-in-Motion has resulted in an increase in the allowable gross weight of 6-axle trucks from 44 to 46 tonnes. His company demonstrated that the increase would have little effect on the risk of overload on bridges and would have the positive benefits of reducing the cost of transport, reducing the fuel consumption per tonne of freight and reducing cumulative damage to road pavements.
At European and world level, his research on bridge traffic loading is identifying the nature of vehicles that govern the safety of bridges - these findings have made it possible to keep many bridges in these countries in service for much longer. The result is a bridge stock with a longer average bridge life, reducing the carbon footprint of bridges and reducing the demand for non-renewable materials.
More information about the competition and other category winners is available on the: TRA Visions website.