The ideal sequence that should be pursued in the approach to the difficult problem of the investigation, management and hazard mitigation of mass movements in general is the following:
1) Systematic collection of field data should be carried out in order to provide a large base of reliable data that can provide better knowledge of the existing risky situations; a deeper understanding of the mechanics of the processes; and of the global behaviour and its 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, newly developed when needed, 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 and test the efficiency of the interventions.
Each of the above study and investigation aspects needs improvements, but ameliorations are strongly interconnected. As an example, existing monitoring devices need in general to be improved to be able to perform measurements across the different field conditions in which mass movements may occur along a 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, improved mitigating interventions methodologies, hazard mapping procedures and monitoring systems. The application of mathematical models to study cases 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.
Scientists working in the fields of monitoring, modelling, hazard mapping and design of mitigation measures against mass movements should therefore maximise communication, for example having frequent common meetings to share their experiences.
This session will provide such scientists a chance to present their recent advancements, discuss needs and set forth future research programmes.