The Transportation Infrastructures Group was formed and grew through the impetus of Prof. Felice Ausilio Santagata, now retired, at the former Institute of Roads and Transportation. It then developed by merging into the Department of Hydraulics and Road Infrastructure and finally into the Department of Civil, Building and Architectural Engineering.
Since 2004, the Transportation Infrastructures group has ranked first in Italy for the quality of research results in the sector of Roads, Railways and Airports, as evidenced by the three evaluation exercises (2004-2010, 2011-2014 and 2015-2019) carried out by the National Agency for the Evaluation of the University System and Research.
The group is currently composed of six faculty members, two technicians, and about ten fellows and doctoral students. Every year, ten to fifteen students carry out their curricular internship activities in our laboratory.
Our areas of interest, for teaching, research and technology transfer, are road and airport infrastructures and materials. We focus on design, construction, maintenance and management. In recent years we are addressing the challenges posed by sustainability, the circular economy and the transition to smart infrastructures.
Our teaching activities are included in the Bachelor’s degree program in Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Master’s degrees in Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering, and the single-cycle degree program in Building Engineering-Architecture. A total of ten courses are offered, including three in English, eight in ssd ICAR04 and two in ssd ICAR05. In addition to face-to-face teaching, some courses include practical surveying and design applications as well as visits to construction sites, infrastructures and companies.
Our research activity is mainly carried out through the development of projects and scientific collaborations with national and international universities and research organizations. We are active in major scientific organizations in the field, such as SIIV, RILEM, EATA and ISAP.
Our activity in the field of technology transfer and “third mission” is articulated through collaborations with industry and major transport infrastructure management entities under special research contracts or projects funded by regional, national and international programs,
We are members of the National Center for Sustainable Mobility (MOST) promoted under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. The MOST includes researchers from 24 universities, the CNR and 24 large companies. Its mission is implementing modern, sustainable and inclusive solutions for the whole transport system.
Our research activities aim to characterize the main physical-mechanical and durability properties of binders and mixtures through an approach based on experimental testing and modeling.
Regarding bituminous binders (normal, modified, biobinders) and mastics, our interest is in advanced rheological analyses for classification and performance characterization. Regarding mixtures, our research covers a wide range of topics from mix-design to advanced performance and rheological testing. Research activities also cover materials with high acoustic, aesthetic and anti-pollution properties (expanded clay, rubber powder, photocatalytic materials, transparent synthetic binders).
Particularly active is the field of research concerning the characterization of the interfaces of multilayer bituminous systems, which has led to the development of two pieces of equipment called ASTRA (Ancona Shear Test Research and Analysis) capable of performing static and dynamic shear tests.
Recycling of road and airport pavements creates a virtuous cycle that optimizes the use of natural resources, improving the sustainability and environmental impact of the infrastructure system. Our research activities involve traditional hot recycling, warm recycling technologies, and cold recycling technologies (in-plant and on-site). The goal is to develop recycled mixtures that have performance characteristics identical to traditional ones. Regarding hot and warm recycling, we are mainly concerned with the characterization of mixtures (both dense and open-graded) with high recycled content. Regarding cold recycling, we study recycled mixtures stabilized with bitumen emulsion (or foamed bitumen) and cement.
Geogrids and goecomposites are used as reinforcements in asphalt pavements. geocomposites also find wide use in waterproofing of works of art. Our research aims at advanced characterization of interface properties and flexural strength of reinforced asphalt pavements, ensuring accurate performance prediction and optimization of such systems.
As part of our research, we have been involved in the construction of numerous experimental and instrumented pavement sections to investigate full-scale response under vehicular loads. In particular, the installation of sensors (for load, deformation, temperature, humidity) allows us to study pavements ready for the advent of cooperative, connected and automated mobility (CCAM).