A multiobjective decision‐making model for risk‐based maintenance scheduling of railway earthworks

Irina Stipanovic, Zaharah Allah Bukhsh, Cormac Reale (Corresponding author), Kenneth Gavin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Aged earthworks constitute a major proportion of European rail infrastructures, the re-placement and remediation of which poses a serious problem. Considering the scale of the networks involved, it is infeasible both in terms of track downtime and money to replace all of these assets. It is, therefore, imperative to develop a rational means of managing slope infrastructure to determine the best use of available resources and plan maintenance in order of criticality. To do so, it is necessary to not just consider the structural performance of the asset but also to consider the safety and security of its users, the socioeconomic impact of remediation/failure and the relative importance of the asset to the network. This paper addresses this by looking at maintenance planning on a network level using multi‐attribute utility theory (MAUT). MAUT is a methodology that allows one to balance the priorities of different objectives in a harmonious fashion allowing for a holistic means of ranking assets and, subsequently, a rational means of investing in maintenance. In this situation, three different attributes are considered when examining the utility of different maintenance options, namely availability (the user cost), economy (the financial implications) and structural reliability (the structural performance and subsequent safety of the structure). The main impact of this paper is to showcase that network maintenance planning can be carried out proactively in a manner that is balanced against the needs of the organization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number965
Number of pages18
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


  • Cuttings and embankments
  • Infrastructure maintenance
  • Maintenance scheduling
  • Multi‐attribute utility theory
  • Slope stability
  • Utility theory


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