Award Date

8-1-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Committee Member

Alexander Paz

Second Committee Member

Pushkin Kachroo

Third Committee Member

Sajjad Ahmad

Fourth Committee Member

Mohamed Kaseko

Fifth Committee Member

Haroon Stephen

Sixth Committee Member

Amei Amei

Number of Pages

187

Abstract

With the rapid increase in economic development throughout the world, there is stress on the resources used to support global economy, including petroleum, coal, silver, and water. Currently, the world is consuming energy at an unprecedented rate never seen before. The finite nature of such non-renewable natural resources as petroleum and coal puts pressure on the environmental system, and ultimately reduces the availability of resources for future generations. Hence, it is critical to develop planning and operational strategies that seek to achieve a sustainable use of existing natural resources.

With this motivation, this dissertation focuses to develop a decision support framework based on multiple performance measures for the planning of sustainable transportation systems. A holistic approach was adopted to compute performance indices for a System of Systems (SOS) including the Transportation, Activity, and Environmental systems. The performance indices were synthesized to calculate a composite sustainability index to evaluate the sustainability of the overall SOS. To help make better design and policy decisions at an aggregate level, a suitable modeling approach that captures the dynamic interactions within the SOS was formulated. A method of system of ordinary differential equations was chosen to model the aggregated performance indices and their interdependencies over time. In addition, systems and control methodology was used in the development of optimal policies (with respect to investments in various systems) for decision making purposes.

The results indicated that the Transportation and Activity system both follow positive trend over the years whereas the Environmental system follows an overall negative trend. This is evident as continuous increase in growth and transportation will result in decreased performance of Environmental system over time. The results also highlighted periodic behavior with a phase lag for the performance of Transportation and the Activity system; the performance of Environment system decayed with time. In addition, the results demonstrated that it is possible to formulate an optimal control to predict investment decisions over time. Furthermore, the results from this research provided an alternate, cost-effective method to rank and prioritize projects based on sustainability index values.

The major contributions of this research are fourfold. The first contribution of this research is the development of a framework to generate sustainability indices for policy making considering, explicitly, multiple interdependent systems. This research is first of its kind to study the dynamical interactions between the three systems: Transportation, Activity, and Environment. The second contribution of this research is a detailed analysis to understand the dynamics of the three interdependent systems. Multiple insights were obtained from this research. The techniques learnt can be applied to perform multi-city network modeling through the concept of interconnected networks. In addition, the need to conserve the environment and preserve the resources is highlighted. The third contribution of this research work is development of control mechanisms to evaluate investment policies for the design of sustainable systems. Investment decisions were derived from the design. The fourth contribution of this research is the development of a framework to estimate sustainability indices for the evaluation and prioritization of transportation projects. Projects are prioritized and ranked based on the sustainability index values. The greater the sustainability index value, the higher is the project priority. This provides a comprehensive mechanism to incorporate information beyond traditional techniques.

Keywords

Benefit-Cost Analysis; Dynamic Modeling; Optimal Control; Predator-Prey; Sustainable Systems; Transportation System

Disciplines

Civil Engineering | Sustainability

Language

English


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