Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


Thomas Oommen


Retaining walls are important assets in the transportation infrastructure and assessing their condition is important to prolong their performance and ultimately their design life. Retaining walls are often overlooked and only a few transportation asset management programs consider them in their inventory. Because these programs are few, the techniques used to assess their condition focus on a qualitative assessment as opposed to a quantitative approach. The work presented in this thesis focuses on using photogrammetry to quantitatively assess the condition of retaining walls. Multitemporal photogrammetry is used to develop 3D models of the retaining walls, from which offset displacements are measured to assess their condition. This study presents a case study from a site along M-10 highway in Detroit, MI were several sections of retaining walls have experienced horizontal displacement towards the highway. The results are validated by comparing with field observations and measurements. The limitations of photogrammetry were also studied by using a small scale model in the laboratory. The analysis found that the accuracy of the offset displacement measurements is dependent on the distance between the retaining wall and the sensor, location of the reference points in 3D space, and the focal length of the lenses used by the camera. These parameters were not ideal for the case study at the M-10 highway site, but the results provided consistent trends in the movement of the retaining wall that couldn’t be validated from offset measurements. The findings of this study confirm that photogrammetry shows promise in generating 3D models to provide a quantitative condition assessment for retaining walls within its limitations.