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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Railway Track Condition Assessment at Network Level by Frequency Domain Analysis of GPR Data

1
Department of Transportation, National Laboratory for Civil Engineering—LNEC, 1700-066 Lisbon, Portugal
2
Department of Civil Engineering, Nova University of Lisbon, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal
3
CONSTRUCT—LESE, Faculty of Engineering (FEUP), University of Porto, 4099-002 Porto, Portugal
4
Defense University Center, Spanish Naval Academy, Plaza de España 2, 36900 Marín, Spain
5
Applied Geotechnologies Research Group, University of Vigo, School of Mining Engineering, Campus Lagoas Marcosende, 36310 Vigo, Spain
6
Department of Information Engineering, Electronics and Telecommunications, Sapienza University of Rome, 00184 Rome, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(4), 559; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10040559
Received: 16 February 2018 / Revised: 31 March 2018 / Accepted: 2 April 2018 / Published: 5 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in GPR Imaging)
The railway track system is a crucial infrastructure for the transportation of people and goods in modern societies. With the increase in railway traffic, the availability of the track for monitoring and maintenance purposes is becoming significantly reduced. Therefore, continuous non-destructive monitoring tools for track diagnoses take on even greater importance. In this context, Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) technique results yield valuable information on track condition, mainly in the identification of the degradation of its physical and mechanical characteristics caused by subsurface malfunctions. Nevertheless, the application of GPR to assess the ballast condition is a challenging task because the material electromagnetic properties are sensitive to both the ballast grading and water content. This work presents a novel approach, fast and practical for surveying and analysing long sections of transport infrastructure, based mainly on expedite frequency domain analysis of the GPR signal. Examples are presented with the identification of track events, ballast interventions and potential locations of malfunctions. The approach, developed to identify changes in the track infrastructure, allows for a user-friendly visualisation of the track condition, even for GPR non-professionals such as railways engineers, and may further be used to correlate with track geometric parameters. It aims to automatically detect sudden variations in the GPR signals, obtained with successive surveys over long stretches of railway lines, thus providing valuable information in asset management activities of infrastructure managers. View Full-Text
Keywords: Ground Penetrating Radar; railways; signal frequency analysis; track geometry; railway events; spectral domain; network level evaluation Ground Penetrating Radar; railways; signal frequency analysis; track geometry; railway events; spectral domain; network level evaluation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Fontul, S.; Paixão, A.; Solla, M.; Pajewski, L. Railway Track Condition Assessment at Network Level by Frequency Domain Analysis of GPR Data. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 559.

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