Preliminary approach for prioritizing resource allocation for rock fall hazard investigations based on susceptibility mapping and efficient three-dimensional trajectory modelling

  • Renato Macciotta
  • C. Derek Martin
Original Paper


Rock fall hazard management typically requires efficient allocation of available resources for detailed hazard assessment and control. In mountainous terrain, remoteness and difficult access pose a challenge for resource allocation decision-making. In this paper, we evaluate a systematic approach for decision-making based on topographic susceptibility and efficient three-dimensional trajectory modelling. The approach relies on the availability of detailed digital elevation models, a strategy which is now considered to be the state of practice. In this study, it is assumed that geologic and rock mass quality information, as well as rock fall occurrence records, are not available in the necessary detail across the area of study for them to be used in rock fall hazard assessments. The approach is illustrated with a case study along a section of railway within the Canadian Cordillera. The advantages and limitations of the approach are discussed, as well as some key considerations for its application.


Rock falls Hazard Resource allocation Susceptibility maps Trajectory modelling 



This research was made possible by the (Canadian) Railway Ground Hazard Research Program, which is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Canadian Pacific Railway (CP), Canadian National Railway (CN) and Transport Canada (TC). The authors would also like to acknowledge Teck Coal Limited for providing the aerial LiDAR image for this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.David and Joan Lynch School of Engineering Safety and Risk ManagementUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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