Prof. Xiang Liu, PhD (USA)

Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at Rutgers University




Research Interests:

transportation safety and risk assessment

Optimal Transportation System Design, Control and Operations

Transportation Infrastructure Management

Applied Statistics and Data Sciences

Simulation based Risk Analysis of Broken Rail Caused Freight Train Derailment in the United States



The American economy hinges on its world-class freight railroad system that consists of 140,000 miles of tracks across all major cities and towns. Meanwhile, train accidents pose safety risks to both the public and the railroads. Effective management of infrastructure risk is pivotal for the U.S. railroad industry to maintain its economic competiveness and support national and international logistics systems. Among all types of infrastructure failures on freight railroads, broken rails occur the most frequently, causing train derailments associated with millions of economic losses to infrastructure, public health and the environment each year. Therefore, broken rail derailment risk management emerges as a very high-profile safety activity in the United States. Under the auspices of the FRA, a simulation-based risk analysis model is being developed to quantitatively predict the likelihood and consequence of a broken-rail-caused freight-train derailment. The risk model accounts for a variety of principal factors related to infrastructural and operational characteristics, and simulates their interactions in American railroad environment. The risk analysis model enables the FRA and railroads in identifying, evaluating and prioritizing promising risk reduction strategies (e.g. use of more advanced inspection technology, increasing inspection frequency) to mitigate infrastructure risk given resource availability. The simulation-based risk management model can be adapted to analyzing other types of infrastructure and operational risks in transportation industry.