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Structures and Dynamics

A railroad at sunset.

Volpe’s Structures and Dynamics Division improves the performance and safety of the rail transportation system by applying engineering expertise in the areas of vehicle-track interaction, mechanics of wear, fatigue and fracture, soil mechanics, and vehicle impact energy management.

We conduct research and testing related to the crashworthiness of rail cars.

Our team develops and tests new methods for inspecting tracks and studies the interaction between vehicles and tracks.


  • Assessment of the dynamic performance of ground transportation vehicles
  • Application of materials engineering principles to understand and improve rail component performance
  • Analysis of data from accident and incident reports, inspections, tests, and other sources to identify causes and propose solutions that will prevent or mitigate hazards
  • Planning, management, and implementation of vehicles and rail structures, dynamics, and materials behavior
  • Interpretation of analytic and experimental investigations

Publications and Papers

View Volpe-authored publications and papers on the following topics:

Featured Work

Meet Our Team

View selected staff biographies

Brian Marquis

Chief, Structures and Dynamics

Last updated: Wednesday, December 29, 2021