Ethical discounting for intergenerational life-cycle risk assessment Lee, Ji Y.; Ellingwood, Bruce R.
In risk-informed decisions involving civil infrastructure facilities, the decision-maker often compares the immediate investments in design with the costs of maintenance or replacement of civil facilities during the facility service period. Certain civil infrastructure projects have substantially longer service periods than typical buildings and bridges. Conventional discounting methods for projects with service periods extending to a century or more raise ethical issues in terms of project risk shared between the current and future generations. To address these issues, several approaches to discounting have been suggested recently that aimed at sharing risk equitably between generations and at achieving long-term sustainable solutions for civil infrastructure projects. This paper explores recent developments in intergenerational discounting practices and examines how those methods might affect the optimal design solutions and long-term decision-making.
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