Title

Assessing Sustainability Effect of Infrastructure Transportation Projects using Systems-Based Analytic Framework

Abstract

Sustainability means providing for the necessities of today without endangering the necessities of tomorrow within the technical, environmental, economic, social/cultural, and individual contexts. However, the assessment tools available to study the sustainability of the transportation infrastructure are limited in their approach and lacking in their content due to several reasons: (1) differences amongst the actors within the industry; (2) fragmentation as represented by lack of communication and understanding between the industry and those whom it serves; and (3) regionalism as represented by the disconnection between the transportation construction projects and their host community systems. The narrow focus of the currently available assessment methods does not collectively address the technical, environmental, economic, social/cultural, and individual sustainability indicators as well various aspects of sustainability.

To this end, this research develops three innovative system-based concepts to assess sustainability of the transportation infrastructure projects: (1) work, (2) nature, and (3) flow. The “work benchmark” defines the socio-behavioral relationships amongst the products and the actors of the built environment. It also attempts to delineate how the end-product is affected by how well the producers are connected to the product. The “nature benchmark” focuses on the effects of the infrastructure system on the environment through studying the interaction between the transportation projects actors, their associated processes, and the end-products within their host systems. The “flow benchmark” identifies the overall system changes within the host systems and the effects of these changes on the natural environment and the socio-economic setting.

For testing and evaluation of “nature” and “work” on five different transportation and civil infrastructure projects, which are in a relation to a transportation project, the authors utilized a three-step methodology comprising: (1) structured survey; (2) data collection; and (3) analysis. This process provided an improved understanding of the environmental, social, and economic effects of these projects from a systems perspective. For future work, the concept of “flow” will be further explored using macro-level system dynamics modeling, micro-level agent-based simulation, and multi-objective optimization to measure the overall system change.

Department(s)

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Sustainability Management

Report Number

NCITEC Project No. DTRT12-G-UTC14

Document Type

Report - Technical

Document Version

Citation

File Type

text

Language(s)

English

Rights

© 2015 National Center for Intermodal Transportation for Economic Competitiveness (NCITEC), All rights reserved.

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