A systems approach to transportation infrastructure management :development of a Highway Management System for the Virginia DOT
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Although there have been warnings about the decline in the U.S. transportation infrastructure for the last two decades, the infrastructure's service condition remains barely above current requirements, and is insufficient to meet future demands of growth and economic development. This deterioration and obsolescence primarily derives from a lack of investment, inappropriate management, and growing travel demands.
The objective of this research is to develop a model, using a system dynamics methodology, that serves as an instrumentality for generating scenarios for facilitating highway infrastructure management -- policy-making, planning, budgeting, and programming for the Virginia highway system.
The Highway Management System (H~1S) model, developed in this research, is a system dynamics model equipped with capabilities for analyzing and solving the metaproblems related to highway infrastructure planning and management. The HMS consists of five subsystems: 1) Physical Subsystem (Pavement Management System, and Bridge Management System), 2) Evaluation Subsystem, 3) Functional Subsystem, 4) Financial Subsystem, and 5) Administration Subsystem.
Through steady state analysis, an understanding of the relationship between state variables and decision variables can be obtained. The nomographs corresponding to the steady state solutions of the HMS are the analytically-based, manual means of gaining understanding by tracing paths from decision variables to state variables.
Simulations were performed using the HMS, based on various budget-size and allocation scenarios for the I-81 corridor. The results indicate that the service condition of the highway will be diminished and will return to its pre-expansion condition in several years, if the maintenance budget is not increased according to the expansion.
The HMS is a useful tool for decision-makers and engineers attempting to analyze and solve meta-problems related to transportation infrastructure management. The HMS presents a whole picture of the highway system according to various policy options. This systems approach to highway management also can be applied to the management of other infrastructure, and eventually it should be possible to achieve an integrated infrastructure management system.
- Doctoral Dissertations