Departments of the institute

The Institute of Road and Railway Engineering is divided into the departments of Road Design and Operation, Road Engineering with Road Laboratory and Railway Engineering. In addition to the classic disciplines of planning, design, construction and operation of transport routes, the topics of environmental compatibility, management of the preservation and maintenance of infrastructure, and optimization of operational processes in railroad engineering are becoming increasingly important due to increased environmental awareness and limited budgetary resources.

On behalf of the Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Federal Highway Research Institute, the Federal Environment Agency, the Federation of Industrial Research Associations, Deutsche Bahn AG and numerous other clients, research work is carried out in the various departments at the Institute of Road and Railway Engineering.


Unit Highway Design and Operation

Director: Dr.-Ing. Matthias Zimmermann

The research focus areas of the Road Design and Operations Department include:

  • Environmental design features and alignment principles for roads.
  • Spatial routing
  • Safety of road networks and sections
  • Investigation of accident black spots
  • Recording and evaluation of the surface characteristics of roads
  • Optimization procedures in road maintenance
  • Scheduling of recurring maintenance work (e.g. winter maintenance, cleaning work, green maintenance)


Unit Road Construction Engineering

Director: Dr.-Ing. Plamena Plachkova-Dzhurova

The main research topics of the Road Construction Engineering Department include:

  • Road subgrade and base testing and evaluation.
  • Reuse of construction materials and industrial by-products
  • Development of special construction methods
  • Recording the structural properties of roads
  • Pavement management systems
  • Quality management in road construction
  • Quality control of construction materials at manufacturers and on construction sites


Laboratory (approved test center according to RAPStra)

Director: Dr.-Ing. Plamena Plachkova-Dzhurova

In the road construction laboratory, which is approved as a testing laboratory according to RAPStra, the following focal points are dealt with, among others:

  • Testing of aggregates, recycled construction materials and construction material mixtures with regard to construction properties and environmental compatibility
  • Testing of asphalts
  • Reuse of building materials and industrial by-products
  • Quality control of building materials
  • Suitability tests and control tests
  • Performance testing of asphalt and bitumen
  • Development and testing of test methods
  • ...


Consulting services

In addition to their main research and teaching responsibilities, the departments of road engineering offer the following consulting services, among others:

  • Causes of damage in road construction
  • Development of rehabilitation concepts and supervision of measures
  • Investigations within the scope of pavement management
  • Environmental impact studies within the scope of road design
  • Traffic engineering analyses
  • Accident surveys and safety assessments


Unit Railway Engineering

In its more than 200-year history, the railroad has developed into a multifaceted and indispensable mode of transport. The Department of Railway Engineering summarizes this broad spectrum under the term "Track Guided Systems and Public Transport" and promotes teaching and research in this field.
The basis and guideline for this is the system concept: Only an understanding of all areas of railroad engineering can do justice to the complexity of track guided systems and take into account the close coupling between vehicle, track and operation.

Main topics in the department of railroad engineering are:

  • Assessment and evaluation procedures in public transport
  • Fully automated rail transport in passenger and freight traffic
  • Interactions between wheel and rail
  • Railroad operations science
  • Performance modules
  • Noise and sound reduction
  • Application studies (technical/operational/traffic/economic)
  • Intermodal transport networks (traffic nodes)
  • Track
  • Passenger comfort (technical and qualitative)