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Research project

Assessment, Costing and Enhancement of Long-Life, Long-Linear Assets (ACHILLES)

Project overview

ACHILLES is an acronym for Assessment, Costing and Enhancement of Long-Life, Long-Linear Assets. It is led by Newcastle University and, in addition to Southampton, also includes universities at Bath, Durham, Leeds and Loughborough, as well as the British Geological Survey. ACHILLES is focussed on improving understandings of long-linear assets that are critical to the delivery of services over long distances such as road and rail embankments and cuttings, pipeline bedding and flood protection structures.


Lead researcher

Dr Joel Smethurst BEng PhD GMICE FHEA

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • The effects of vegetation and climate on the performance of earthworks (cuttings and embankments)
  • The stabilisation of both infrastructure slopes and large landslides using discretely spaced piles
  • The mechanical stabilisation of soil by plants roots
Other researchers

Professor William Powrie

Professor of Geotechnical Engineering

Research interests

  • Railway track and trackbed behaviour and performance.
  • Geotechnical transportation infrastructure (earthworks, retaining walls, tunnels).
  • Groundwater and groundwater control.

Professor John Preston

Professor in Rail Transport

Research interests

  • Demand, capacity and cost modelling for sustainable transport infrastructure.
  • The design, monitoring and evaluation of transport interventions designed to promote sustainable choices.
  • The determination of pathways for future mobility transitions to net zero carbon.

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

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