Multi-modal Reliability Analysis of Slope Stability

Cormac Reale, Kenneth Gavin, Luke J. Prendergast, Jianfeng Xue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (SciVal)


Probabilistic slope stability analysis typically requires an optimisation technique to locate the most probable slip surface. However, for many slopes particularly those containing many different soil layers or benches several distinct critical slip surfaces may exist. Furthermore, in large slopes these critical slip surfaces may be located at significant distances from each other. In such circumstances, finding and rehabilitating the most probable failure surface is of little merit, as rehabilitating that surface does not improve the safety of the slope as a whole. Unfortunately, existing slip surface search techniques were developed to converge on one global minimum. Therefore, to implement such methods to evaluate the stability of a slope with multiple failure mechanisms requires the user to define probable slip locations prior to calculation. This requires extensive engineering experience and places undue responsibility on the engineer in question. This paper proposes the use of a locally informed particle swarm optimisation method which is able to simultaneously converge to multiple critical slip surfaces. This optimisation model when combined with a reliability analysis is able to define all areas of concern within a slope. A case study of a railway slope is presented which highlights the benefits of the model over single objective optimisation models. The approach is of particular benefit when evaluating the stability of large existing slopes with complicated stratigraphy as these slopes are likely to contain multiple viable slip surfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2468-2476
Number of pages9
JournalTransportation research procedia
Early online date27 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2016


  • Multi-modal
  • probabilistic analysis
  • reliability
  • slope stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transportation


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