In general the ideal sequence that should be pursued to address the difficult problem of the investigation, management and hazard mitigation of mass movements is as follows:
1 - a systematic collection of field data should be carried out in order to provide a large base of reliable data that could allow a better knowledge of the existing risky situation, a deeper understanding of the mechanics of the phenomena, of their global behaviour and their effects;
2 - mathematical and physical models, which strongly depend on data and measurements collected and performed in the field for their calibration and design, should be applied (these may need to be specially-developed) and tested.
3 - Hazard mapping techniques and identification of possible scenarios, which need reliable models to be effective and sound, should be then set up.
4 - The best mitigation solutions should be identified, designed and built.
5 - A program of systematic observations on the sites where risk has been mitigated should be planned and carried out to identify any shortcoming, calibrate models and test the efficiency of the interventions.
Each of the above elements needs improvement. These also depend on improvements in the other fields. As an example, existing monitoring devices need in general to be improved to be able to perform measurements across the rabge of different field conditions in which mass movements may occur along the road/railway system. Improving measurement and documentation procedures should provide knowledge and ideas for new and better models. The application of existing models based on the data collected in the field and the development of sound, reliable new models would allow on one hand a better focus on what to observe in the field and, on the other hand, would improve mitigation methodologies and measures and hazard mapping procedures. The application of these latter in the field would then reveal new parameters that would need to be measured and which improvements should be introduced in the models. From these activities the best mitigating solutions should emerge and will thus be applied. The choice of the technical solutions should take into account the uncertainty of the models themselves.
Scientists working in the fields of monitoring, modeling, mapping and design of mitigation measures against mass movements should therefore communicate often, including through frequent common meetings to share their experiences.
The symposium will offer to these scientists a chance to present their recent advancements, discuss each other needs and set forth future research requirements.