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Infrastructure Research Looks at New Preservation Tactic

Monday, April 15, 2019

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Researchers based out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently developed a new approach to preserving infrastructure, a system that factors in a life-cycle cost analysis as well as accounting for the uncertainties regarding treatment and rehabilitation.

The approach, known as simulation optimization life-cycle cost analysis, was originally published in the Journal of the Transportation Research Board. Researchers Fengdi Guo, Jeremy Gregory and Randolph Kirchain, working out of the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub, spearheaded the project.

Life-Cycle Cost Analysis

Similar to other strategies that seek to preserve infrastructure, MIT’s proposal also factors in the cost of future maintenance, a project’s total cost and the initial costs of construction. More conventional long-term infrastructure preservation strategies implement a specific schedule for future road treatments, noted Guo. This may result in overestimating the total life-cycle cost.

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Researchers based out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently developed a new approach to preserving infrastructure, a system that factors in a life-cycle cost analysis as well as accounting for the uncertainties regarding treatment and rehabilitation.

These more traditional approaches assume that decisions made will wind up with something predictable, rather than the more common reality that things like the cost of construction and maintenance will vary over the lifetime of a project. To address these variables, the research team also included pricing, deterioration and potential treatment schedule information to guide predictions. The MIT method also includes predictions for the future prices of asphalt and concrete.

“For each simulated scenario we can find an optimal treatment schedule,” said Guo, “and based on this schedule we can then calculate its life cycle costs.”

The simulated, optimized results are then compiled to display the life cycle cost distribution of various pavement design options. The best option is then selected from this data. For example, in one case study, the cost of maintaining a mile-long length of road over 35 years cost $150,000 less per mile over more traditional methods.

Research from the Concrete Sustainability Hub receives support from the Portland Cement Association and the Ready Mixed Concrete Research and Education Foundation.

   

Tagged categories: Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Rehabilitation/Repair; Research and development; Roads/Highways

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