Today, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) College of Information Science and Technology (IS&T) and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) College of Engineering announced a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish a regional innovation center geared towards producing a big data pipeline for rural bridge health management that will improve transportation network performance and enhance safety.
The Smart Big Data Pipeline for Aging Rural Bridge Transportation Infrastructure (SMARTI) is a partnership between IS&T and Engineering, bringing together 16 researchers from across four focus areas. Support from NSF will allow the SMARTI research team to help standardize the data about aging bridges and make use of the massive amounts of information to help maintain and design safer bridges.
We’re building technologies to provide collected data about bridge health directly to researchers and builders while respecting intellectual property rights, data lineage, as well as security and privacy requirements.
- Dr. Robin Gandhi
“The support from the National Science Foundation will help us improve the current health of aging, rural bridges and help direct future infrastructure management, rehabilitation and, design. We’re incredibly excited to embark on this work,” Robin Gandhi, Charles W. and Margre H. Durham associate professor of cybersecurity at UNO and the project’s principal investigator, said. “We’re building technologies to provide collected data about bridge health directly to researchers and builders while respecting intellectual property rights, data lineage, as well as security and privacy requirements.”
Over the course of three years, SMARTI will focus on mining existing data sets from private, state and federal partners, as well as collect new data through sensors on targeted rural bridges throughout Nebraska. The NSF support for SMARTI builds on a previous $100,000 grant for the Big Data Innovations for Bridge Health, awarded in 2016. The previous grant helped teams from UNO and UNL host collaborative conferences and workshops with key stakeholders to better identify the issues impacting rural bridge health. The project has four co-project investigators: Daniel Linzell (UNL), Deepak Khazanchi (UNO), Chungwook Sim (UNL), and Brian Ricks (UNO).
“By collecting, processing, and querying this data, we’ll be able to proactively predict the health of bridges and guide better asset management moving forward,” Daniel Linzell, Voelte-Keegan professor and department chair of civil engineering at UNL, said. “This work will help standardize data collection in the infrastructure industry and help us make better decisions regarding bridge health for decades to come. It’s incredibly exciting to have support from the National Science Foundation to move forward on this project.”
In 2017, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave America’s bridges a C+ and estimated it would cost over $76 billion to improve the country’s functionally obsolete or structurally deficient bridges. What’s more, the U.S. ranks only 11th worldwide regarding infrastructure competitiveness. The SMARTI project will focus on rural bridges in Nebraska, where there are approximately 10,000 vehicular bridges in rural areas mostly built between 1930 – 1960.
“The partnerships we’ve formed during the first phase of this research have been incredible,” Deepak Khazanchi, associate dean of academic affairs for the UNO College of Information Science and Technology said. “We’re able to use big data in a real and meaningful way, bringing to light the importance of research like this. The socio-technical impact of infrastructure health will be significant, helping guide better policies and practices.”
More information about the Bridging Big Data group can be found here.
About UNO’s College of Information Science and Technology
The College of Information Science and Technology (IS&T) at the University of Nebraska at Omaha represents the joint efforts of the University of Nebraska, the State of Nebraska, and private industry to address the growing global needs for knowledgeable professionals in Information Technology (IT). The College was established at UNO in 1996 to meet the growing increasing demand for IT graduates in the Omaha metropolitan and surrounding area.
About the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Engineering
The College of Engineering trains excellent engineers to help supply the STEM workforce needs of Nebraska and the world, enhancing both the students’ technical knowledge and the essential non-technical skills necessary to succeed in a global workforce. The college strives to lead in translational research to ensure emerging science and technologies help drive the state’s economy. The college offers academic programs in two cities on three campuses: City Campus and East Campus in Lincoln and on UNO’s Scott Campus in Omaha.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.
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