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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Sustainable infrastructure management : optimization of global warming impact and condition performance of paved assets del Campo Yañez, Juan Manuel


Transport agencies must balance a range of performance objectives in managing their roadway assets. These performance objectives increasingly include mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and the environmental footprint associated with their roadway infrastructure. This dissertation outlines the creation of a network-level management tool that can support transport agencies in achieving two objectives for roadway systems: (1) maximizing the number of facilities in a “good” state-of-repair; and (2) minimizing their global warming impact. The former objective reflects the traditional priority for transport agencies, while the consideration of global warming impact is a new, emerging interest for these governmental entities. Unlike several past efforts in this domain, the network-level model accounts for a range of uncertainties (e.g., changes in traffic demand) and embeds flexible management strategies that can help transport agencies adapt to an unknown future. The network management tool is subsequently applied to a realistic case study based on data made available by the U.S. Department of Transportation via its Highway Performance Monitoring System program. The results of this dissertation highlight that, over a 20-year analysis period, maximizing the number of facilities in a “good” state-of-repair across the network increases its expected global warming impact by 1% to 8%. In other words, an unintended consequence of transport agencies emphasizing their efforts towards purely improving the physical condition of their roadway infrastructure is that it can substantially increase their environmental footprint. In addition, the case study demonstrates that, invariant to the available budget, increasing the allocation of funds towards rehabilitation rather than reconstruction treatments can reduce the expected global warming impact of the pavement network by as much as 7%. Simply put, by increasing funding allocation programs from capital outlays towards maintenance and rehabilitation activities, transport agencies have the potential to considerably reduce the global warming impact of their roadway systems. The contributions of this dissertation are two-fold. First, the proposed model provides decision-makers with a new framework to optimize across important performance targets while embedding adaptive roadway management strategies. Second, the case study findings provide transport agencies with valuable insights around the effects of key policy choices on their environmental footprint.

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