Making the historic quay walls and bridges of the Netherlands future-proof

June 28, 2022

TU/e researchers to develop new AI-based method for optimal planning of lifespan-extension measures

Photo by Boudewijn Boer on Unsplash

Many old Dutch cities are characterized by their historic quay walls and bridges. In recent years however several walls have collapsed and many more are in poor condition. This puts these valuable cultural structures at stake. Time to turn the tide before it’s too late.

The old structures have deteriorated due to low maintenance and the changed loads they must handle. Maintaining the cultural heritage and at the same time preparing them for the future is a huge challenge. lifespan-extension measures are promising way to cope with this challenge. The new STABILITY (Sustainable Circular Life Extension Strategies for Inner-City Bridges and Quay Walls) research project aims to do just that.

The TU/e research is part of a larger consortium in which various knowledge institutions and partners join forces to preserve the cultural heritage of cities, and keeping cities accessible, attractive, and livable. The research is funded by the Municipality of Amsterdam and NWO.

AI-based lifespan-extension

TU/e researchers Zaharah Bukhsh and Yingqian Zhang will develop a new planning method based on artificial intelligence to prioritize and schedule lifespan-extension measures. Zaharah Bukhsh: “I am excited about this project as AI-based planning methods can transform and tremendously improve the way asset maintenance is planned in practice. The method will accommodate the wishes of asset managers and account for uncertainties stemming from complex urban environment.”

The method will include the impact of the measures in a broad spectrum, like environment, circularity and complex urban settings. The to be developed ‘failure modes’ help to deal with the complex urban context and unavailability of data. The system will be able to execute multiple scenarios, thus rendering the optimal strategy for the renovation and replacement. The project aims to contribute toward a sustainable circular economy and more resource-efficient solutions for the network-wide renovation of quay walls and bridges.