PhD research

Project outline:

Roads are critical to the economic and social development of a region. When roads are constructed, they often require excavation into the ground which can result in a road cutting; a slope adjacent to the road which is inclined at a steeper angle than the natural topography. Road cutting failures can be hugely costly and disruptive when slope debris blocks the road and collides with infrastructure. They are most prevalent in regions of hilly topography and those that experience periods of heavy rain. However, natural susceptibility to failure is hugely exacerbated where there is poor design and construction of road cuttings and slope stabilisation (measures or protocol to improve the stability of a slope). This situation is most common in low and lower-middle income countries (LIC/LMICs) where there can be lack of resources, weak design standards and challenging environments. My PhD aimed to gain an understanding for the issues resulting in the poor design of road cuttings in LIC/LMICs and use the findings to motivate the development of practitioner-focused tools to improve the design and planning of stable road cuttings in LIC/LMICs. These tools include a methodology for designing road cutting guidelines and a methodology to assess the cost efficiency of road slope stabilisation measures.


Professor Stefano Utili 
Dr David Milledge


NERC Iapetus