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THE RTA GUIDE TO SLOPE RISK ANALYSIS VERSION 3.

1
I.E. Stewart1, F.J. Baynes2 and I.K. Lee3
1
Manager, Geotechnical Contracts Section, RTA, NSW
2
Consultant Engineering Geologist, Perth, Western Australia
3
Emeritus Professor, Sydney, NSW

ABSTRACT
The RTA Guide to Slope Risk Analysis presents a procedure for analysing geotechnical risks associated with slopes
adjacent to main roads in NSW. The procedure analyses the risk associated with actual or potential failure mechanisms
which have been identified for a slope, using a series of defined ratings, which are combined through a risk matrix to
generate an Assessed Risk Level (ARL) for the slope. The ratings are correlated to conditional probabilities for the
likelihood and consequences of failure. Risk to life and economic risk are both analysed. Some of the methods used to
allocated the ratings are presented. The inherent limits to the precision of risk analysis procedures are also discussed.

1 INTRODUCTION
The paper describes the RTA Guide to Slope Risk Analysis Version 3.1. The procedure has been developed for the
purpose of analysing geotechnical risks associated with slopes, including retaining structures, adjacent to main roads in
NSW. It is intended to be used in setting priorities for further work, which may take the form of investigation,
monitoring, remediation or other measures as considered appropriate. The mandatory part of the procedure, together
with an example of its use, is presented in Appendix A.

2 BACKGROUND
The development of a systematic slope risk analysis procedure by the RTA first started in the early 1990s. The early
procedures (Guide to a Slope Risk Rating System, Versions 1 and 2), completed in 1994/5 were based on weighted
scoring of slope attributes and a subjective assessment of consequences, combined using a risk matrix based on hazard
and consequences, of the type subsequently used in AS4360 (1999). Data collection was intended to be undertaken by
maintenance personnel, followed by desk analysis by a geotechnical practitioner. Proposed actions based on the
resulting risk levels were directed towards setting priorities for inspection by a geotechnical practitioner, but were
poorly defined. The procedure was used in a very limited way prior to late 1997. In late 1997 and early 1998 Version 2
was used statewide to assess about 2500 slopes. Review of the results of this programme indicated that the
reproducibility of the analyses was poor and that the risk levels derived were not sufficiently accurate to set priorities
for slope remediation and maintenance programmes.
Development of a new procedure commenced in mid 1999. Prior to its adoption, it was reviewed by independent
experts (Dr Fred Baynes (FJB) and Professor Ian Lee (IKL)). The first edition of the new procedure (Versions 3.0/3.01
of the RTA Guide to Slope Risk Assessment) was used in late 2000 for analysis of about 600 slopes (later increased to
over 700). This work was undertaken by a panel of consultants (seven external to the RTA, one internal) and involved
about 25 practitioners. Initially the reproducibility of results (for sites analysed by the independent experts) was
unsatisfactory. This necessitated substantial revision to definitions and allocation methods, followed by re-assessment
of the results. The effects of the changes are discussed by Baynes et al (2002). Incorporation of these changes into the
base document (and some further changes resulting from additional development work), followed by substantial
rearrangement of the document, gave rise to Version 3.1 of the RTA Guide to Slope Risk Analysis.

3 PRINCIPLES OF OPERATION
The main function of the procedure is to facilitate the setting of priorities for further work. There are a number of
essential requirements for a procedure of this type:
It must be applicable to a large number of sites, covering a great range of conditions and be capable of being used
by many practitioners, while still producing consistent results. Earlier versions were mainly oriented towards
assessing cuttings. Very few embankments or natural slopes and no retaining structures were assessed. The new
method had to be suitable for all of these types of slope.

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It must be applicable on the basis of visual inspection, supplemented by other information where it is available. It
cannot be assumed that any prior subsurface investigation has been done. The procedure is intended for use in
setting priorities for such work. It allows for the recommendation of investigation work if visual inspection does
not provide enough information to complete the analysis.
It must be reasonably economic to apply preferably it should involve no more than a few hours on site, including
time spent on analysis in the field, plus travelling and office time, drafting and reporting.
It must necessarily concentrate on risks involving road users (who, by definition, will be present at all sites adjacent
to the road network) but must also be applicable to risks involving adjacent land and development. Hence the
method concentrates on hazards which most commonly affect road user, particularly small rockfalls, but is
applicable to all hazards.
It should concentrate on the geotechnical aspects of a site, and where possible avoid asking geotechnical
practitioners to make detailed judgements about consequences.
It must allow sufficient discrimination in risk levels to set reasonable priorities for a slope risk management
programme. Five categories have been used, as the best balance between provision of adequate discrimination and
increasing complexity.
The Version 3.0/3.1 procedure is based on the recognition of actual and potential failure mechanisms which may affect
a slope, which is the process of hazard identification, rather than simply listing attributes. This requires that the
practitioners who apply the procedure must have sufficient knowledge and experience to form reliable opinions about
the slope. The intention of the procedure is to record as much of the thinking and judgement of the practitioner as
possible, so that later workers will be able to understand the basis for the risk analysis. The checklist approach used in
earlier versions does not allow this. Primary reliance on tick the box listing of slope attributes also tends to lead to
superficiality in the appreciation of a site and to an underestimation of the level of training and experience necessary to
carry out an acceptable analysis.
Following identification of the hazards, consideration is given to their dynamics. A series of ratings are then allocated
for each hazard. The ratings reflect an underlying probability structure, consistent with current practice in the field (Fell
and Hartford 1997, Australian Geomechanics Society 2000). Some additional ratings express the interpreted dynamics
of the identified mechanisms.
The probability structure is derived from the basic risk equation:
Risk = Likelihood x Consequences
Inputs to the equation are represented by ratings or combinations of ratings. The definitions associated with the ratings
are intended to reflect a specified probability range and to guide practitioners to the appropriate rating. The ratings
indicate differences of an order of magnitude.
The Likelihood Rating (L) is generally related to evidence for process rates, often expressed as the annual
probability of, very approximately, recurrence intervals and indicates the annual probability of a failure occurring
and reaching a point where it can interact with an element at risk.
Consequences are expressed separately for risk to life and economic loss. To derive the consequences for risk to
life, separate ratings are allocated for the temporal probability (T) of an individual being present to interact with the
hazard and for the vulnerability (V) of the individual if the interaction takes place. The T and V ratings are
combined in a matrix to obtain the Consequence rating (C).
Economic consequences ratings (also C) are allocated directly, based on criteria including road closure and repair
costs.
The rating definitions are intended to be as objective as possible and were designed to avoid "loaded" terms or those
where the common technical definition differs widely from popular usage (eg possible may be assigned a probability
range of say 0.1 0.3 in some scales, but may be taken in popular usage to mean any outcome that is not absolutely
impossible).
The L and C ratings are combined through a risk matrix to obtain the Assessed Risk Level (ARL) for each hazard. The
rating which represents the highest risk associated with the site is reported, along with details of the analysis.
The analysis results and critical site information will be incorporated in the RTAs Road Slope Inventory database,
which is currently under development, and used to set priorities for ongoing slope risk management and remediation
programmes.

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4 SOME METHODS USED IN THE PROCEDURE


This section describes some of the more important techniques and methods used, or recommended for use, in the
procedure. Provision of location information and site description in the form described is mandatory. Methods other
than those described in the procedure can be used for rating allocation provided they are adequately documented.

4.1 SITE DEFINITION


The procedure is intended to be applied to slopes which form natural units. In most cases the limits of the slope are
obvious in the field (eg the ends of a cut). For large sites, subdivision is desirable, and would usually be based on
differences in geological or landform features (eg change in soil or rock type, drainage lines). The extent of the site
above or below the road that is assessed should be sufficient to consider any reasonable mechanisms which may affect
the road reserve.
Location information is recorded as Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates relative to the Geodetic Datum of
Australia (GDA) and as RoadLoc (the RTAs chainage system) coordinates. Provision is made for supplementary
reporting of locations in other coordinate systems. Reliable locations are essential to allow the site to be found again
and to facilitate correlation with other types of information. Earlier methods have been found to have high location
error rates (25 50% of sites analysed in the late 1990s have proved to have some problem in their reported locations).
Photographs are also required to assist in field identification of sites.

4.2 SLOPE DESCRIPTION


The emphasis is on field sketches (line drawings see Fig. 1) and suitable photographs. The core of the method is the
sketches, which should contain all relevant information. Provision of a plan, cross-sections and illustrations of the
hazard or failure mechanisms is required. Other sections (eg elevations) may be also be appropriate in some
circumstances. Given the large range of possible site dimensions, fixed scales are not used. However, natural scale is
desirable for cross section.
Sketches are considered better than photographs, as they selectively record the features the practitioner thinks
important. In photographs, every pixel is weighted evenly and features of significance often do not stand out. (eg
photographs of embankment failures tend to look like innocuous slopes covered in vegetation, regardless of their actual
condition). The sketches will be incorporated in the database system currently nearing completion of development,
along with photographs and the details of the risk analysis, so that critical information is readily available and
effectively archived. An extensive checklist is also provided to assist the assessor in making observations.
It is considered that because this approach captures the practitioners reasoning, it makes desk auditing an effective tool
in maintaining the consistency of the analyses.
It is then necessary to define the failure mechanisms that may occur at the site, if appropriate considering different
scales of occurrence. The dynamics of each mechanism are then considered.
If the site is large or complex, singling out the worst risk to govern the ARL may not fully capture the total risk. In
these circumstances the complexity should be recognised and a decision made to carry out a more detailed study.

4.3 SLOPE ATTRIBUTE SCORING


The Slope Attribute Scoring system has been retained from Versions 1 and 2, with slight modifications, partly for
continuity and partly as an internal check. The attributes scored have been found to correlate broadly with potential for
instability and in principle should relate to the detachment probability. However they have been found to be very
subjective. In practice, individuals tend to develop an internal calibration in the way they do the scoring, but overall
the reproducibility of the score is poor. The main function of the Slope Attribute Scoring system is as a broad check on
likelihood rating (ie high score, high detachment probability; low score, low detachment probability, but the meaning of
high and low scores has been found to vary greatly between individuals). The need to complete the attribute
scoring also means that items on the associated checklists are less likely to be missed.

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Fig 1. Example Site Sketch

4.4 SLOPE HISTORY


Collection of information on slope history is essential, although the nature, volume and usefulness of the available
information varies greatly. This is often the only evidence for past behaviour eg frequency of rock falls, past
embankment distress/failure as the field evidence is often undetectable after a few years, or has been removed.
However, incident reports should be treated with some caution, especially the absence of reports for slopes which show
signs of frequent past failure. Recent evidence from sites which have been the subject of detailed incident monitoring
suggests that incidents are greatly under-reported, even when they involve vehicle damage or personal injury.

4.5 LIKELIHOOD
Likelihood is generally considered as the product of detachment and travel distance probabilities, which are estimated
separately (Appendix A Fig. 5) and depends heavily on professional judgement. The qualitative definitions used to
allocate the ratings are intended as both an explanation of how to allocate the rating and as a guide to allocation of the
ratings themselves, especially in relation to the interpretation of the type of process that might trigger an event. Event
in this context means detachment and travel to or beyond the point at which an element at risk may be present.
The detachment probability tends to be related to field observations for higher probabilities (of the order of 10-3 or
more) and geological considerations for lower ones. Consideration has to be given to the possible evolution of the slope
with time, with the attendant changes in detachment probability.

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The likelihood rating is based on an annual probability estimate for the event under consideration. Allowance is made
for adjustment of the ARL for sites at which many events occur annually.
Special consideration has been given to travel distance estimation for small rockfalls, which are a significant hazard at
about two thirds of the sites so far analysed using this procedure. Difficulties have been encountered in assessing the
probability of rockfalls from cuttings travelling to the road carriageway.
It is preferable that estimates of this probability be based on field evidence. For cases where this is unavailable or
inconclusive, a graphical method has been developed, based initially on limited field observations. The method was
subsequently modified using the results of extensive modelling using the Colorado Rockfall Simulation Program
(CRSP). This modelling covered a range of slope angles (from 30 to 90) and L/H (shoulder width/cut height) ratios
(from 0.1 to 1.2), for a range of shoulder widths and catch ditch geometries. The travel paths of 1000 rocks were
modelled for each simulation and the percentage reaching the carriageway was recorded. Fig 2 shows the outcomes for
one particular shoulder geometry.

Rockfall Simulation - Travel Distance Graph


2 m Shoulder

1.2 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

1.1 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 %
0.0 of rocks0.0reaching the
0.0 0.0
pt 0.001 % of rocks travelling to this
carriageway at this slope
1 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.0 slope
0.0 ratio at 0.0
this slope angle
angle and ratio 0.0 0.0

0.9 0.6 0.1 0.0 0.2 0.0 0.2 0.2 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.1

0.8 0.1 0.1 0.0 1.0 0.5 0.2 0.8 0.4 0.3 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.0
pt 0.001
Slope Ratio L/H

0.7 0.7 0.1 0.4 1.2 0.6 0.5 2.6 1.8 1.3 0.4 0.1 0.0 0.0

0.6 0.5 0.2 0.6 1.5 0.6 0.6 4.4 2.4 1.7 0.8 0.6 0.1 0.0

0.5 0.6 0.3 1.5 3.1 3.0 1.9 6.8 6.6 4.8 1.6 1.0 0.4 0.0

0.4 0.7 0.7 0.9 2.9 4.4 4.8 9.1 11.9 7.0 4.5 2.6 0.4 0.0

0.3 0.8 0.1 1.8 3.8 7.3 9.0 12.2


pt 18.8
0.1 16.6 9.7 4.5 2.9 1.6

0.2 0.7 0.2 3.3 6.9 11.8 14.8 19.4 25.1 31.2 20.2 10.1 9.6 28.8

0.1 0.7 0.5 2.4 2.4 16.1 21.3 28.2 35.6 46.0 47.3 20.9 24.8 57.7
pt 1
0
30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90
Slope Angle (degrees)

Figure 2. Rockfall Simulation Outcomes for a 2 m Shoulder.

Curves representing equal probabilities of travel to the carriageway were then drawn, an order of magnitude apart. The
modelling suggested that travel distance maxima typically occur at two slope angles, probably representing rolling
and bouncing movement (at about 45 and 60 in Fig. 2). The locations and magnitudes of the maxima vary with the
slope geometry eg for a 5 m shoulder, the maxima are at slope angles which are 10 higher than those in Fig. 2. The
final graph (Fig 3) is necessarily a simplification, derived by averaging and smoothing the results for several shoulder
geometries and the available field estimates.
One effect noticed, in both the field and the modelling results, is that while catch ditches designed to stop all rock are
quite large (eg Ritchie 1963), any ditch with suitable geometry is beneficial. This effect becomes less important as the
slope angle increases, mainly because a greater proportion of rock bounces over the ditch. The parameters used to
define the L/H ratio reflect this.

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Small Rock Falls/Rock Slides


Estimating the Probability that on Detachment
the Debris will Land on the Carriageway

1
0.001 & <

0.01
Ratio L/H

0.5

0.1

1
0
30 40 50 60 70 80 90

Slope Angle

For the general case, L = a


Where a catch ditch is present and
d > w/3, then
L = a + 2w for slope angles 65
L = a + w for slope angles > 65

Edge of
H carriageway (or
element at risk)
a

w
Figure 3. Travel Distance Probability Estimation for Small Rockfalls/Rock Slides

4.6 TEMPORAL PROBABILITY


The temporal probability rating is an assessment of the conditional probability that if an event occurs, a person will
interact with it. It contains several underlying conditional probabilities, which must be defined according to the nature
of the element at risk eg, whether a vehicle will be present, or whether a person will be present in a building. Hence the
way the rating is allocated will depend on the element at risk being considered.
For cases where the element at risk is the road user, a graphical method is provided based on measured traffic volumes
and the probability of a vehicle being within the design stopping sight distance for the posted speed limit. Depending
on the speed limit, either half or full stopping distance is used, following Bunce et al. (1997) (see Appendix A Fig. 6).
The graph is valid within a factor of two for sites where travel speeds are in the range 50 110 km/hr and the design
stopping site distance for the posted speed limit is available (which assumes that design speed = speed limit, which in
most cases is either valid or conservative).
The method does not separately consider the various possible modes of vehicle debris interaction. Nor does it
explicitly allow for the effects of the traffic mix and vehicle occupancy levels. If these are considered important, a
separate study should be undertaken. The outcomes of such a study can be incorporated in the analysis.

4.7 VULNERABILITY
The vulnerability rating represents the conditional probability that a fatality will result from the interaction between a
landslide and a person at risk, who is present at the site. A major distinction is made between rockfall block size and
general landslide debris, as it is considered that intact, large blocks of rock are much more likely to cause a fatality than
the equivalent volume of smaller sized material. The definitions cover a number of common situations, with some need
for interpolation or extrapolation to different circumstances.

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The definitions were developed using an event tree approach, calibrated by limited objective data or known points (eg
circumstances of known fatalities and near misses, concrete pavement void incidents, accident statistics). As an
example, statistics indicate that there is about a 3% fatality rate for collisions involving immovable objects (eg
bridges, trees, power poles), based on the object first hit. The published statistics do not, however, indicate vehicle
speed, speed limit, nature of collision or whether other similar fatalities may have occurred where a vehicle was the
object first hit but did not cause the fatality. Consequently, the rules for allocating the vulnerability rating are broad
and generalised.

5 INHERENT LIMITS TO PRECISION IN RISK ANALYSIS


The allocation of ratings that attempt to distinguish between the underlying conditional probabilities to the nearest order
of magnitude imposes limits on the precision of risk analyses made using this procedure. Fig. 4 illustrates the
normalised risk to life (RTL) probability distribution within each ARL, assuming a rectangular probability distribution
within each input rating (L, T and V). The curves show the (binomial) probability distributions resulting from the
combination of the three ratings, derived from breaking each probability range into eight equal steps on the logarithmic
scale and smoothing the resultant histograms. Each curve corresponds to a diagonal in the ARL matrix (so that there are
multiple curves for ARL1 and ARL5). At any value on the X-axis, the curves sum to 1, so that the probability of a
given RTL probability being allocated to the various ARLs can also be estimated. These curves therefore represent the
operation of the procedure under ideal circumstances ie where each rating has been correctly allocated according to
the true underlying conditional probability.

ARL Probability v Relative Frequency

1.000

0.900

0.800

0.700 ARL5-3
ARL5-2
Relative Frequency

0.600 ARL5-1
ARL5
ARL4
0.500
ARL3
ARL2
0.400 ARL1
ARL1-3
0.300 ARL1-2

0.200

0.100

0.000
1E-11 1E-10 1E-09 1E-08 0.0000001 0.000001 0.00001 0.0001 0.001 0.01 0.1 1
Probability

Figure 4: ARL Distribution Relative to Annual Probability of Fatality (Risk to Life)

Fig. 4 therefore illustrates fundamental limits on the precision available from the procedure, which can only be
improved if the input ratings can be made more precise. However, overlap between adjacent risk levels can never be
eliminated, even in principle. It could be reduced, but to halve it would require estimation of each of the ratings to half
an order of magnitude. Such an improvement in inherent precision would require much more complexity in the methods
used to allocate the ratings. For instance, the effects of traffic volume, lane numbers and partitioning of traffic between
lanes, traffic speed, road geometry, and the different possible types of vehicle debris interaction would all have to be
explicitly evaluated , on a site by site basis, to obtain the T rating more precisely.
Hence the precision of the adopted procedure is considered to reflect a real limit on the precision that is achievable in
geotechnical risk analysis without detailed, site-specific studies. If a closer estimate of risk is desired, those studies
should be carried out.
Virtually every quantitative risk analysis procedures is subject to similar uncertainty considerations. They commonly
allocate conditional probabilities based on attributes or site conditions, to a scale with values separated by one or more

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orders of magnitude. This is in principle no different to the procedure described herein, except the categories may be
broader than those used on this procedure. For instance, a conditional probability which could in principle take any
value between 1 and say 10-7 might be allocated to one of three values within that range say 10-1, 10-3 or 10-6
depending on pre-determined criteria. This is equivalent to allocating ratings which are separated by two to three orders
of magnitude. It is considered unlikely that the precision of such analyses is substantially better than those obtained
using this procedure.
Even where site-specific quantitative probability estimates are made, they must be subject to similar uncertainty in the
estimation of conditional probabilities unless there is sufficient evidence from a detailed statistical study. This is a
subject which deserves further investigation, as quantitative risk analyses are often reported to as many as three
significant figures, which seems unrealistic where measurement errors appear to be of the order-of-magnitude scale. It
is considered that estimates of precision should be reported as part of all risk analysis studies.

6 TRAINING AND AUDITING REQUIREMENTS


It has been found that even experienced practitioners need to analyse about 12 sites, covering a range of conditions,
under instruction before they start producing acceptable results, as described in the companion paper (Baynes et al
2002) . The RTA will require completion of a 5 day training course, mainly in the field, before risk analysis can be
undertaken using this procedure. This requirement will apply to individuals, not organisations.
There is also an ongoing need for auditing of the analysis outcomes and investigation of questionable results if accuracy
is to be maintained. A 100% desk audit and 10 15% field audit by experienced practitioners, independent of the
original analysis, is considered necessary based on experience to date, to ensure information quality of a standard suited
to use in a slope risk management programme.

7 POSSIBLE FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PROCEDURE


Changes will be made to the procedure as continuing research and the collection of data allows improvement based on
the objectives of improving the accuracy and precision of the procedure. In particular, it is intended to develop and
incorporate improved methods for rating allocation. Areas of specific interest include:
the estimation of detachment probability for embankment failure mechanisms, particularly for sites where no
distress is apparent or which appear to have been dormant for extended periods.
field evidence for rockfall travel distances
the vulnerability rating allocation.

8 REFERENCES
AS4360 (1999). Australian Standard AS/NZS 4360. Risk management. Standards Australia, Sydney.
Baynes, F.J, Lee, I.K. and Stewart, I.E. (2002). A study of the accuracy and precision of some landslide risk analyses.
Australian Geomechanics Volume 37 No 2.
Bunce, C.M., Cruden, D.M, and Morgenstern, N.R. (1997). The assessment of the hazard of rockfall on a highway.
Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 34, pp 344-356.
Fell, R. and Hartford, D. (1997). Landslide risk management. In Cruden, D. and Fell, R. (eds) Landslide risk
assessment. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 51-109.
Australian Geomechanics Society (2000). Landslide risk management concepts and guidelines. Australian
Geomechanics, 35(1), pp 49-92.
Ritchie, A.M. (1963). Evaluation of rock fall and its control. In Highway Research Record 17, HRB, National
Research Council, Washington, pp 13-28.

9 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors wish to thank the Roads and Traffic Authority of NSW for permission to publish this paper. The views
expressed in the paper are solely those of the authors and not the Roads and Traffic Authority.

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APPENDIX A
This Appendix contains the foreword, mandatory text and one of two examples from the RTA Guide to Slope Risk
Analysis Version 3.1. The advisory and informative appendices also contained in the Guide, which are essential to its
proper use, have been omitted for reasons of space. The text presented here contains references to those appendices and
to figures contained within them. Figure A2-2 is reproduced within the text of this paper as Figure 3. Monetary values
in Section 5.4.2.3 of this Appendix are in year 2000 dollars.

GUIDE TO SLOPE RISK ANALYSIS VERSION 3.1

FOREWORD AND DISCLAIMER


This Guide has been prepared by the RTA to analyse the risks associated with cut and fill slopes and soil retaining
structures adjacent to state roads in New South Wales. The procedure is based on visual assessment. The risk analysis
will provide information for use in setting priorities for investigation, monitoring and remediation of such slopes and
structures. The Guide does not address the process by which those priorities should be set for slope treatments nor does
it address safety responses, investigation priorities nor individual slope treatments.
The Guide is based on the approach suggested in the Landslide Risk Management Concepts and Guidelines published
by the Australian Geomechanics Society in March 2000 and has had regard to the Australian Standard for Risk
Management AS/NZS 4360, 1999.
The Guide is intended for use by Geotechnical Practitioners who have satisfactorily completed an appropriate training
programme.
Persons or organisations external to the RTA considering use of the Guide should obtain independent expert advice
applicable to their particular circumstances including advice as to the appropriateness of the Guide for use by them.
The Guide has been written for use within the management structure of the RTA and references to responsibility for
various actions are expressed in terms of that structure. Persons external to the RTA considering the use of the Guide
should consider how those responsibilities would be addressed within their own management structures.
No warranty or representation (expressed or implied) is made by the RTA, its employees or agents in relation to the
accuracy, currency or adequacy of the Guide or that it is fit for purpose. The RTA accepts no responsibility whatsoever
arising (whether by statute, in tort, contract or otherwise at law) out of or in connection with the contents or use of the
Guide.
The Guide is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by
any process without written permission from the RTA.

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GUIDE TO SLOPE RISK ANALYSIS

1 INTRODUCTION
The purpose of this Guide is to set out a systematic procedure for analysing the risks associated with potential slope
instability on the state road network. The procedure is intended to form part of the systematic management of the risks
through the RTAs Road Slope Inventory System (RSIS) database.
The procedure set out in the Guide is based on current literature in the field, including the Landslide Risk Management
Concepts and Guidelines published by the Australian Geomechanics Society in March 2000. It was developed by the
RTA in conjunction with external consultants between September 1999 and August 2001.
The procedure is intended for use by geotechnical practitioners who are experienced in slope stability assessment. The
RTA has found that extensive training in the use of the method is necessary before meaningful assessments can be
made, even when the analyses are carried out by such experienced practitioners.

2 TERMINOLOGY
This document is written in Plain English, with terminology consistent with that used in the Australian Standard for
Risk Management (AS/NZS 4360 1999). However, following the Australian Geomechanics Society (2000), the term
hazard is used (instead of risk) to describe slope instability in the identification stage of the Risk Management
process.
The main terms used are as follows:
Elements at Risk: The population, buildings and engineering works, economic activities, public services and
infrastructure in the area potentially affected by landslides.
Hazard: A condition with the potential for causing an undesirable consequence. Descriptions of landslide
hazard include the volumes or areas of influence of the landslides or potential landslides, the probability of
their occurrence and the velocities of the landslide.
Probability: The likelihood of a specific outcome, measured by the ratio of specific outcomes to the total
number of possible outcomes. Probability is expressed as a number between 0 and 1, with 0 indicating an
impossible outcome, and 1 indicating that an outcome is certain.
Temporal Probability: The probability that a given landslide interacts with an element at risk. In this Guide,
the term is used in relation to risk to life ie where the element at risk is a person.
Consequences: The potential effects arising from the occurrence of a landslide expressed qualitatively or
quantitatively, in terms of loss (financial or otherwise), disadvantage, damage, injury or loss of life.
Likelihood: A term describing probability or frequency. In this Guide, it expresses the probability that a
given landslide will both occur and reach the location of an element at risk. The likelihood ratings are
allocated using both quantitative probabilities and qualitative descriptions.
Risk: A measure of the probability and severity of an adverse effect to health, property or the environment.
Risk is often estimated as the product of probability x consequences. However, a more general interpretation
of risk involves some combination of the probability and consequences.
Risk Analysis: The use of available information to estimate the risk to individuals or populations, property, or
the environment, from hazards. Risk analyses generally contain the following steps: scope definition, hazard
identification and risk estimation.
Risk Evaluation: The stage at which value judgements enter the decision process, explicitly or implicitly, by
consideration of the importance of the estimated risks and the associated social, environmental, and economic
consequences, in order to identify a range of alternatives for managing the risks.
Risk Assessment: The process of risk analysis and risk evaluation.
Risk Management: The complete process of risk assessment and risk control.
Vulnerability: Given that an interaction occurs between a landslide and an element at risk, the vulnerability is
the degree of loss to a given element or set of elements within the area affected by the landslide(s). In this

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Guide it expresses the probability of death resulting from the landslide, interacting or impacting an element at
risk.
Zone of Influence: The area estimated to be potentially affected by the landslide movement, extending from
the limit of any tension cracks above the crest, to the furthest extent downslope of the movement of the
displaced material or debris, and including any buffer zones.
Geotechnical Practitioner: A person qualified by training and experience to provide professional advice on
geotechnical matters, specifically in regard to slope stability.
Line Management: Those persons bearing direct responsibility for, and having authority over, maintenance of
roads controlled by the RTA.

3 AN OVERVIEW OF THE RISK MANAGEMENT PROCESS


As described in the Australian Standard for Risk Management (AS/NZS 4360, 1999), the process of risk management
involves the following activities:
a) Establish the context, or scope, of the process.
b) Identify the hazards.
c) Analyse the hazards, with respect to likelihood and consequences.
d) Evaluate the risks, at least ranking them from high to low risk.
e) Manage the risks, to mitigate and control them.
f) Monitor and review the risk management process.
The procedure set out in this Guide addresses items a) to c) in the above list. Items d) to g), which deal with the
subsequent use of the results of the analysis, are addressed through the Slope Stability Remediation Program.
The basic questions that need to be answered for the risk management of a slope are:
What is the slope involved?
How far does it extend?
What can move?
To where?
How fast?
How much warning will there be?
What can it affect?
What happens if it does?
How likely is this to actually happen?
How serious is it?
What should to be done to ensure safety?
How can it be fixed?
What priority does it get compared to other slopes?
For a particular slope these questions can be structured as a flow chart, as shown in Figure 1 (this chart is based on the
Landslide Risk Management Concepts and Guidelines issued by the Australian Geomechanics Society, 2000). The
answers to these questions come from a combination of observation, investigation and knowledge of past events.
The Risk Assessment Process, which forms part of risk management and its relationship to the procedure set in the
Guide is shown in Figure 2.

4 AN OVERVIEW OF SLOPE RISK ANALYSIS


The procedure to be followed for Slope Risk Analysis is outlined in this Section; details of the procedure are then given
in Section 5.
The procedure is largely based on visual assessment of the slope, as in most cases this is all the information that will be
available. The visual assessment should be supplemented by other information where it exists. In general, there will be
insufficient information to undertake a formal quantitative probabilistic risk analysis. However, the procedure is based
on an underlying quantitative structure which is expressed in a series of rating scales and associated definitions. The
main rating, which expresses the level of risk associated with the site, is the Assessed Risk Level (ARL). The ARL
describes both risk to life and economic impacts.

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To assess the risk to life, the ratings T (Temporal Probability) and V (Vulnerability), are combined to derive C
(Consequence rating for loss of life) which in turn is combined with L (Likelihood) to derive the ARL. The procedure
reflects conditional probabilities which characterise the chain of events which must occur for slope instability to result
in a fatality. It is essential that these are properly understood to avoid incorrect allocation of the ultimate risk ratings.
The relationship between the conditional probabilities is shown in Figs 3a and 3b, which illustrate two cases which must
often be assessed for slopes on a road network the probability of death resulting from an interaction between a vehicle
and landslide debris, and the probability of death arising from an embankment failure impacting a building on the slope
below.

Figure 1 - Risk Management for a Slope

Scope Definition
Which slope?
How far does it extend?

Hazard Identification
What can move?
To where?
How fast?
How much warning?

Consequence Analysis Likelihood Analysis


What will it affect? How likely is this to actually
What happens if it does? happen?

Risk Evaluation

How serious is it?

Risk Treatment

What should be done:


to ensure safety
to fix it?
What priority should it
be given compared to
other slopes?

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Figure 2 The Slope Risk Assessment Process

Scope
(Sect. 5.1)

Slope Slope Description Incident


History (Sect. 5.2.1) Reports
(Sect. 5.2.2) (Sect. 5.2.2)

Likelihood Hazard Consequence


Analysis Identification Analysis
(Sect. 5.4.1) (Sect. 5.3) (Sect. 5.4.2)

Risk
Estimation
(Sect. 5.4.3)

Risk Risk
Analysis of Evaluation
Other
Slopes

To Slope
Stability
Remediation
Program

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Figure 3a. Parameters Used in Determining the ARL (Assessed Risk Level) Cutting Failure With Debris Reaching
the Carriageway

L expresses the T expresses the probability


probability that material that there will be an
will detach and travel to the interaction between an
carriageway element at risk and the
landslide

V expresses the
probability that death
will occur as a result
of the interaction

Figure 3b. Parameters Used in Determining the ARL (Assessed Risk Level) Embankment Failure With Debris
Impacting a Building.

T expresses the probability


L expresses the probability that a person will be present
that material will detach and within the building at the time
travel to the building of impact

V expresses the
probability that death
will occur as a result
of the impact

The same concepts may be used under other circumstances, such as with persons in the open (eg pedestrians using a
footpath) or people occupying a building adjacent to the slope (eg a bus shelter).
A separate analysis is used to assess the potential economic consequences of a failure, which are again expressed in
terms of the ARL. It is based on the ratings L (the Likelihood rating) and C (Consequence rating, in this case a direct
estimate of the potential economic effects).
In addition to the ARL, other ratings are derived during the analysis, which describe
- S (the scale of failure)
- R (the velocity of failure)
- SAS (the Slope Attribute Score)
S and R are combined to produce M (the Event Magnitude), a measure of the energy associated with the failure and
hence its capacity to cause damage. M is combined with L to produce H (the Hazard Classification), which expresses
the probability of a potentially damaging event. SAS (the Slope Attribute Score) expresses the presence of physical
features which, in general terms, have been found to correlate with slope instability.
Where more comprehensive information is available a more detailed quantitative risk analysis may be possible. This
would normally only be required for slopes with a high ARL.
The analysis procedure is necessarily based on the judgement of the Geotechnical Practitioner, with varying amounts of
information from investigation and engineering analysis. The procedure described here is a systematic way of

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expressing that judgement. The application of the procedure should never be allowed to over-ride the overall
judgement of the practitioner. If that overall judgement differs from the analysis resulting from the procedure, the
judgement and the reasons shall be fully documented. A second opinion should be sought if the result of the procedure
is considered to be unreasonable.
The geotechnical aspects of the procedure can only be carried out by very experienced practitioners, with a good
working knowledge of risk assessment, who have been trained in the use of this Guide. Without that input, it is unlikely
that an adequate risk assessment can be made, even in apparently simple cases.
The steps in the procedure are subject to uncertainty, even when supported by the most thorough of investigations and
the most comprehensive of analyses. This is especially true when dealing with probabilities which are inherently low
and when the available history is short. The uncertainty should be expressed by selecting ranges for the ratings used in
the analysis, and should finally result, where appropriate, in upper and lower bounds for the ARL and other derived
ratings.
The procedure forms a basis for assigning priorities for programmes for investigation, monitoring and remediation of
slopes. For this reason, it is directed towards deriving ratings which can be used for a comparative assessment of large
numbers of slopes many thousands, in fact with vastly different associated risks.
The assessments are largely based on visual inspection of the slope surface and there may be a poor understanding of
the underlying ground conditions. Depending on the outcome of visual inspection of the slope, additional detailed
geotechnical investigations may be required to define subsurface ground conditions, safety factors of the slope and
suitable stabilisation options.
Furthermore, the results of the analyses are a general indication of the state of the slopes at the time of inspection and
subsequent monitoring or re-rating of slopes may be necessary. Monitoring periods will differ depending on the nature
of the slope, consequence of instability and other factors such as groundwater conditions and rainfall.
The risk analysis for each slope is reported through a series of pro-formas, which are presented in Appendix 1.

5 THE RISK ANALYSIS PROCEDURE

5.1 SCOPE
Slope risk analysis is undertaken at specific sites which are analysed as a single entity. Each analysis may form either
an individual study or part of a larger scale overview, possibly involving many slopes. The scope of the analysis shall
be defined by considering:
a) The extent of the sites under consideration.
b) Geographic limits of possible processes that might affect the site.
c) The people, property and services that might be at risk physically.
d) The various stakeholders that might be affected non-physically, including owners, occupiers, control authorities
and their inter-relationships.
e) The operational and financial constraints applying to the work.
f) Communication and reporting requirements.
The primary responsibility for the initial scope definition lies with Line Management. However, the Geotechnical
Practitioner responsible for conducting the analysis shall advise, in a timely manner, of any changes to the scope which
are considered necessary to properly conduct the analysis.

5.2 DATA COLLECTION


The risk analysis starts with the collection of primary data. This covers the observable conditions at the site and the
known (or obtainable) history of the slope, especially any available information on specific incidents related to the
slope.
If data collection does not provide sufficient information to adequately identify the hazards, no meaningful analysis can
be carried out. Line Management shall be informed promptly in such cases.
5.2.1 Slope Description
A systematic process for the description of slopes is given in Appendix 1. Information shall be collected to allow
assessment of potential failure mechanisms and their effects. This requires description of the following aspects of the
slope:

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a) Location
b) Slope geometry
c) Slope features, geology and geomorphology
d) Evidence of previous failures
e) Potentially adverse features and discontinuities
f) Installed drainage
g) Water carrying services/infrastructure
h) Conditions affecting infiltration potential
i) Visible seepage
j) Existing support, stabilisation and control measures and their condition
k) Potentially affected developments or features
l) Possible remedial measures
5.2.2 Slope History and Incident Reports
Investigation of the slope history will provide information on the following:
a) Previous failures
b) Previous investigations
c) Behaviour of similar slopes in the same area
d) Design of existing structures
e) Previous remediation
History and/or incident reports and information on site investigation reports shall be obtained if they are available. The
collection of slope history focuses on pre-existing technical or design reports relating to failure mechanisms. These will
usually only be available where a slope has either already failed, or has been previously identified as being at risk of
doing so. In some cases other, similar (and usually nearby) slopes have failed and may form a source of relevant
information. The collection of incident reports focuses on non-technical reports of instability, especially those which
have affected road users or adjacent properties. Information may be found in sources such as maintenance files, or files
relating to claims for compensation, which are not specific to the particular slope. This type of report may originate
from:
a) Field staff
b) Public
c) Police
d) Emergency services
e) Other (eg. local residents)

5.3 HAZARD IDENTIFICATION


During data collection, as the first step in identifying potential hazards, all the main possible failure mechanisms have
to be recognised. For the purposes of this Guide, any failure mechanism which may originate in, or affect, the road
reserve shall be considered, even if the origin, causes or consequences of the failure lie outside the road reserve. More
than one mechanism may operate on a slope (eg rockfall and landslide).
In some circumstances, the occurrence of a failure may allow new mechanisms to operate (eg a slow moving landslide
may produce a steep back-scarp from which rapid rock falls can originate). This possibility should be considered if it is
likely that a failure may remain undetected after occurrence or be untreated for any length of time (eg if it occurs on one
of the upper benches of a cut, or near the toe of a deep embankment where it cannot easily be seen). Each failure
mechanism should be looked at individually, and then any interactions considered. Some mechanisms may operate at
several possible scales, which should be considered separately as their likelihoods may be different.
In assessing the possible failure mechanisms, it is also necessary to consider what the potential preparatory and
triggering events(s) might be.
For each failure mechanism, the potential scale of failure must be estimated and the zone of influence the instability
could affect must be established.
Each identified potential failure mechanism is then treated as a hazard.
The procedure shown in Figure 4 is then followed for each hazard. This is described in the following sections.

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5.4 RISK ESTIMATION


The method of arriving at the ARL for each identified hazard is described in this Section. The procedure combines
ratings describing various aspects of the potential failure mechanisms and their consequences, through a series of
matrices, to derive an ARL for the slope.
5.4.1 Likelihood Analysis
The likelihood of failure refers to the probability of the hazard occurring and extending over a given zone of influence.
In principle, this could be expressed quantitatively as an annual probability of occurrence for each possible hazard,
although the necessary information to do this is unlikely to be available, even where extensive investigation and
analysis has been undertaken. Therefore, rating definitions have been included with the indicative annual probabilities
to provide guidance in the application of more subjective assessments. The ratings which follow may be used where a
definable triggering event is expected (in which case the likelihood of failure may be approximately constant over time)
and also to those circumstances where initiation of a failure is related to a time-dependent process (in which case the
likelihood would normally increase with time).
It should be noted that, unless there is good evidence from the past or current behaviour of the slope, prediction of time
to failure is subject to large uncertainties.
The likelihood ratings have the following meanings:
L1 The event may, or is expected to, occur within a short period under average circumstances, or the
mechanism is active at present (depending on circumstances the short period could be from days to no
more than two to three years). Indicative Annual Probability around 0.9.

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Figure 4. Risk Analysis of an Identified Failure Mechanism or Hazard

Identify
Failure
Mechanism

Identify the Identify the Assess the Volume or


Elements "Zone of Dynamics of Block Size
at Risk Influence" Failure Dominant?

People
and/or
Property?

People Scale of Scale of


(Individual Velocity of
Initiating Failure Failure
Most at Risk*) Failure
Mechanism (Volume) (Block Size)
(R1 - R5)
Temporal (S1 - S5) (S1 - S5)

Property Vulnerability Probability


(V1 - V5) of Presence
(T1 - T5)

Travel
Value of Detachment
Distance
Property etc Probability
Probability
at Risk P(d) Matrix
P(t)

Matrix
Combine

Consequence Likelihood Event


Class of Failure Magnitude
(C1 - C5) (L1 - L6) (M1 - M5)

Note: Where loss of life


is identified as a Matrix Matrix
consequence, the total
(societal) risk, based on
the probability of different
numbers of people being
present shall also be
considered in Assessed Hazard
determining any Risk Level Classification
responses to the (ARL1 - ARL5) (H1 - H5)
assessesd mechanism
and its possible
consequences

Summary
Report

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L2 The event may, or is expected to, occur within a moderate period (from a few years to no more than about
30 years) or within the inspection period under slightly adverse circumstances. Indicative Annual
Probability around 10-1.
L3 The event could be expected to occur at some time over about a 100 year period in the normal course of
events but would only occur within the next inspection period under adverse circumstances. Indicative
Annual Probability around 10-2.
L4 The event would not be expected to occur within about a 100 year period under normal conditions and is
unlikely to occur within the next inspection period except under very adverse circumstances. Indicative
Annual Probability around 10-3.
L5 The event would not be expected to occur within about a 100 year period and is unlikely to occur within the
next inspection period even under very adverse circumstances. Indicative Annual Probability around 10-4.
L6 The event is unlikely to occur even under extreme circumstances. Indicative Annual Probability < around
10-5.
In practice it is difficult to meaningfully estimate these probabilities more accurately than to one order of magnitude.
The inspection period refers to the time between successive inspections, which for the purposes of the procedure can be
taken as five years. The period of about 100 years is analogous to the design of life of major structures or slope support
measures.
Adverse circumstances are essentially weather-related triggering events either exceptional rainfall or extreme
groundwater levels. In such cases the likelihood of failure may be governed by the return period of the necessary
triggering event, which would be reflected in the choice of an annual probability of failure. Alternatively, it may be
governed by the development of a time-dependent process (eg it may depend on erosion of weaker material to some
extent before the failure can occur) and both the nature of the triggering event and the probability of failure may change
with time.
In assessing likelihood it is often necessary to make the distinction between detachment and travel distance
probabilities, as illustrated in Fig 5.
The two conditional probabilities are then combined (multiplied together) to obtain the likelihood rating (L1 L6).
This approach is especially useful for cases such as rockfalls onto the road carriageway. If this is done, both
probabilities shall be reported.
Figure 5. Detachment and Travel Distance Probabilities

Detachment:
p(d) probability that the
material is detached from Travel Distance:
its original position and p(t) probability that,
starts to move once dislodged, the debris
will travel as far as the
element at risk

Element at Risk:
In this case, a vehicle in
Likelihood: the outer lane of the
Probability of debris carriageway
reaching the element at
risk is L (= p(d)*p(t))

There may be cases in which further conditional probabilities need to be considered (eg, whether a block will shatter
into smaller pieces on landing). If this is the case, the same methods can be applied, with the likelihood calculated by
multiplying out all of the conditional probabilities.
For cases involving small rock falls or slides from road cuttings, for which conditional probabilities for detachment and
travel distance are being considered, the probability of the debris reaching the carriageway may be provisionally
assessed from Fig. A2-2.

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5.4.2 Consequence Analysis


The purpose of the consequence analysis is to identify the effects of the hazards. Firstly, the people and property which
might be affected by the hazard, either directly or indirectly the elements at risk must be identified. Secondly, the
possible effects of the hazard on each element the consequences - have to be assessed.
The consequences are expressed separately for:
a) Loss of life
b) Damage to property and consequential (social/economic impact) effects:
i) Road closure (defined in terms of sub-network ranking to be allocated by line management - and
including any resulting user costs)
ii) Infrastructure or property damage and consequential costs (excluding those arising from the road
closure itself, if it occurs)
iii) Repair costs (to restore the road to its pre-failure condition)

5.4.2.1 Elements at Risk


This part of the analysis consists of the identification of elements which may be affected by the hazard. These would
include:
a) Road users
b) Buildings (occupied and unoccupied)
c) Pedestrians
d) Road and furnishings
e) Vehicles
f) Infrastructure (eg railways)
g) Structures
h) Services (eg water supply, power poles)
i) Other property
All possible elements at risk, that may be within the zone of influence of the landslide, shall be considered.

5.4.2.2 Loss of Life


The consequences of a hazard resulting in loss of life shall be estimated using the following rating scales. One scale is
for the temporal probability of a person being present within the zone of influence of the failure, at the time of failure,
and one scale is for the vulnerability of such a person. These scales are combined through a matrix to derive a
consequence rating. The consequence rating so derived relates to the indicative probability of death of an individual,
given that the hazard in question occurs. For the purposes of this guide, no attempt has been made to distinguish
between the relative probabilities of loss of life and personal injury. It is assumed that any slope instability which
carries a risk of loss of life would also carry a risk of injury.
Temporal Probability
Temporal probability ratings are assigned as follows:
T1 Person usually expected to be present as part of the normal pattern of usage (eg residential buildings,
some commercial buildings). Road users in the heaviest of urban traffic conditions. (p > 0.5).
T2 Person often expected to be present as part of the normal pattern of usage (eg many commercial
buildings). Road users on major urban arterial roads and the most heavily trafficked rural roads. (p
0.1 0.5).
T3 Person may sometimes be present as part of the normal pattern of usage. Road users on many urban
arterial roads and most major rural arterial roads (p 0.01 0.1).
T4 Person unlikely to be present even where there is a pattern of usage. Road users on suburban roads
and minor rural arterial roads (p 0.001 0.01).
T5 Person is very unlikely to be present. Road users on the most lightly trafficked roads, road shoulders
etc. (p < 0.001).
Where the element at risk is the road user, the temporal probability shall be allocated using Fig. 6, which is based on
traffic volumes expressed as vehicles/lane/day.

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Vulnerability
The vulnerability refers to the probability of the event causing death, assuming that the person is within the zone of
influence of the failure, or that a vehicle impacts the debris or is lost into a void caused by the failure. The rating scale
definitions, which are based on event tree analyses, describe the vulnerability of individuals under a variety of
circumstances:

in buildings impacted by debris


in the open
in vehicles interacting with debris
in vehicles interacting with voids formed by slope failures

Fig 6. Temporal Probability Rating for Road Users

Allocation of Temporal Probability Rating by Traffic Volume


1.0E+00
T1

T2
1.0E-01
Temporal Probability

T3

Class
1.0E-02

T4

1.0E-03

T5

1.0E-04
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 14000 16000 18000 20000

Traffic Volume (Vehicles/Lane/Day)

The vulnerability ratings are as follows:


V1 Person in the open unable to evade rockfall or other debris (movement very/extremely rapid), or
buried, or engulfed in a building collapse. Vehicle impacting a block > 1 m high or lost into a deep,
narrow void at highway speeds. (p > 0.5).
V2 Partial building collapse. Person in open may be able to evade debris. Vehicle impacting a 0.5 1 m
high block at highway speeds or a block > 1 m high at urban speeds or lost into a shallow void. (p 0.1
0.5).
V3 Building penetrated, no collapse. Emergency evacuation possible. Most people in open able to evade
debris. Vehicle impacting a 0.5 1 m high block at urban speeds, or a block > 1 m high at low
speeds. Vehicle impacting loose or wet mixed soil/rock debris (or crossing a stepped surface with c
0.1 0.2 m steps caused by a developing embankment failure) at highway speeds. (p 0.01 0.1).
V4 Building struck, damaged but not penetrated. Vehicle impacting a block around 0.2 m high at
highway speeds or a 0.5 1 m high block at low speeds. Vehicle impacting loose or wet mixed
soil/rock debris (or crossing a stepped surface with c 0.1 0.2 m steps caused by a developing
embankment failure) at urban speeds. Vehicle interacting with a shallow void/depression where the
guardfence may prevent a vehicle from leaving the road. (P 0.001 0.01).
V5 Building struck, only minor damage etc. Vehicle impacting a block around 0.2 m high at urban
speeds or a smaller block at highway speeds. Vehicle impacting loose or wet mixed soil/rock debris
at low speeds. Vehicle traversing an irregular surface formed by soil or small (< 100 mm min
dimension) rock, or by a developing embankment failure, at highway speeds. (p < 0.001).
The definitions include allowances for vehicle speed in up to three broad categories highway ( 100-110 km/hr),
urban ( 60-80 km/hr), and low ( 20-30 km/hr).

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Consequence Matrix for Risk to Life


The consequence class in respect to risk to life is derived from the temporal probability and vulnerability ratings, using
the following matrix.

Temporal Probability of an Individual Being Present at


the Time of Failure
Vulnerability T5 T4 T3 T2 T1
V1 C4 C3 C2 C1 C1
V2 C4 C3 C2 C1 C1
V3 C5 C4 C3 C2 C2
V4 C5 C5 C4 C3 C3
V5 C5 C5 C5 C4 C4

5.4.2.3 Damage to Property and Consequential Effects


Consequences in respect of property damage and other consequential effects of the failure are to be assessed using the
following scale. As the elements at risk are mainly fixed in place, separate assessment of temporal risk and
vulnerability is not required for the purposes of this procedure.
C1 Total closure of a Sub-Network Rank 5 or 6 (SN5-6) road for an extended period
Major infrastructure or property damage (other than road)
Very high disruption cost (other than road users)
Very high repair cost
(Total direct and indirect costs > $10M)
C2 Total closure of one carriageway of an SN5-6 road or total closure of an SN34 road for an extended
period
Substantial infrastructure or property damage
Large disruption costs
High repair cost
(Total direct and indirect costs > $2M < $10M)
C3 Partial or total closure of an SN3-4 road for a short period, longer period if reasonable alternatives are
available
Moderate infrastructure or property damage
Moderate disruption costs
Moderate repair cost
(Total direct and indirect costs > $0.5M < $2M)
C4 Partial or total closure of an SN2 road for a short period
Minor infrastructure or property damage
Minor disruption costs
Low repair cost
(Total direct and indirect costs > $0.1M < $0.5M)
C5 Partial or total closure of an SN1 road for a short period
Negligible infrastructure or property damage
Little or no disruption costs
Very low no repair cost
(Total direct and indirect costs < $0.1M)

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5.4.3 Risk Estimation The Assessed Risk Level Matrix


The Assessed Risk Level matrix combines the Likelihood and Consequence ratings derived in Sections 5.4.2 and
5.4.2.3 above. Where the consequence ratings for loss of life and property damage differ, the higher of the two is used
to derive the ARL.
Consequence Class
Likelihood C5 C4 C3 C2 C1
L1 ARL3 ARL2 ARL1 ARL1 ARL1
L2 ARL4 ARL3 ARL2 ARL1 ARL1
L3 ARL5 ARL4 ARL3 ARL2 ARL1
L4 ARL5 ARL5 ARL4 ARL3 ARL2
L5 ARL5 ARL5 ARL5 ARL4 ARL3
L6 ARL5 ARL5 ARL5 ARL5 ARL4

WHERE NO VIABLE FAILURE MECHANISM EXISTS, THE ASSESSED RISK LEVEL IS DEEMED TO
BE NEGLIGIBLE AND ALLOCATED A RATING OF ARL5.

5.5 SUPPLEMENTARY PARAMETERS


In addition to the ARL, the Event Magnitude and Hazard Classification are derived to assist subsequent risk evaluation.
5.5.1 Event Magnitude Classification
Each identified mechanism is rated, in terms of the scale and velocity of failure and the ratings combined to derive the
Event Magnitude.

5.5.1.1 Scale of Failure


The scale of failure ratings are allocated either for the volume of failed material or for the maximum block size. The
volume scale should be used for mechanisms involving soils and/or rock mass movement. The block size scale should
be used for mechanisms which result in the release of single blocks of rock, or small groups of such blocks (most often
the case for rock falls, but may be used in other situations). The rating to be used should be chosen on the basis of
which rating best expresses the behaviour of the failure.
Volume of failure
S1 Volume > 20,000 m3 (eg. 40 m wide x 60 m long x 10 m deep = 24,000m3)
S2 Volume > 2,000 m3
S3 Volume > 200 m3
S4 Volume > 20 m3
S5 Volume < 20 m3
Block Size
S1 single blocks exceeding 1,000 mm minimum dimension (eg one rock 1 x 1 x 2m)
S2 single blocks exceeding 1,000 mm maximum dimension
S3 single blocks not exceeding 1,000 mm maximum dimension
S4 single blocks not exceeding 500 mm maximum dimension
S5 single blocks not exceeding 200 mm maximum dimension

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5.5.1.2 Velocity of Failure


The velocity of movement of a failure is rated in terms of the following table. The rating should reflect the maximum
velocity expected to be developed during failure.
Velocity of Failure
Description Velocity Typical
RATING (mm/sec) Velocity
Extremely Rapid
R1 ---------------------- 5 x 103 5 m/sec
Very Rapid
---------------------- 5 x 101 3 m/min
R2 Rapid
---------------------- 5 x 10-1 1.8 m/hr
R3 Moderate
---------------------- 5 x 10-3 13 m/month
R4 Slow
---------------------- 5 x 10-5 1.6 m/year
Very Slow
R5 ---------------------- 5 x 10-7 16 mm/year
Extremely Slow

(Modified from Australian Geomechanics Society, 2000)

5.5.1.3 Event Magnitude Classification Matrix


The scale and velocity of failure ratings are combined in the Event Magnitude Classification Matrix.

Scale of Failure
Velocity of Failure S5 S4 S3 S2 S1
Fast R1 M3 M2 M2 M1 M1
R2 M4 M3 M2 M2 M1
R3 M4 M4 M3 M2 M2
R4 M5 M4 M4 M3 M2
Slow R5 M5 M5 M4 M4 M3

The result is expressed in terms of Event Magnitudes in the range M1 M5, as derived from the above matrix. The
event magnitude derived here is used in conjunction with the likelihood of failure (see section 5.4.1) to produce a
hazard classification.
5.5.2 Hazard Classification
The Event Magnitude and Likelihood ratings are combined in the Hazard Classification Matrix.

Event Magnitude
Likelihood M5 M4 M3 M2 M1
L1 H3 H2 H2 H1 H1
L2 H4 H3 H2 H2 H1
L3 H4 H4 H3 H2 H2
L4 H5 H4 H4 H3 H2
L5 H5 H5 H4 H4 H3
L6 H5 H5 H5 H4 H4

5.6 REPORTING
Supporting information, in the form of the slope description (Appendix 1) and the various analyses described in Section
5, is also to be provided for each slope and identified failure mechanism. The results of the risk analysis shall be
presented in summary form, in accordance with Appendix 1.
The full reports are required in both hard copy and in electronic form (Word 97 format) and all photographs are to be
supplied on CD in JPEG format.

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